Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a new poll showing nearly half of Americans hold a positive view of the Republican tax bill and are bullish on the economy, although they are not ready to give Trump and the GOP credit. They also wince as Democrats win a usually safe Republican seat in the Wisconsin State Senate, and Gov. Scott Walker urges GOP members and activists to make sure people know about their significant accomplishments. And they sigh as President Trump’s doctor gives the commander-in-chief a clean bill of health, but White House reporters still ask the physician a litany of repetitive questions about Trump’s mental health and whether he he is fit to serve under the conditions of the 25th Amendment.
As Senate Republican leaders scramble to find the votes to pass a health care bill, their fidelity to a warped understanding of the filibuster rules is deeply impacting the content of the legislation and the odds of passing anything in a deeply divided chamber.
The filibuster is a powerful tool by which the minority in the Senate can delay or kill legislation simply by preventing the 60 votes necessary to open or close debate on a bill.
However, a top official at the conservative Hillsdale College believes that embracing the original understanding and implementation of the procedure would provide for much more robust debate and a stronger legislative branch.
Matthew Spalding is the dean of educational programs at Hillsdale and also runs the school’s Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center in Constitutional Studies and Citizenship in Washington. He says the filibuster is diluting the purpose of Congress.
“The underlying problem here is that Congress doesn’t really legislate in the way it was supposed to. It gave up on that, in many ways, decades ago, as it delegated its powers away,” said Spalding, who says the filibuster was never intended to give the minority that much power.
“The filibuster was not intended to stop legislation. It was intended to delay it. It was intended to slow walk it. It was intended to allow the minority to say whatever they wanted to say in objection in a public forum, in a deliberate legislative way,” said Spalding.
Instead of the traditional filibuster, which required exhausting speeches that lasted hours on the Senate floor, Spalding says the tool has become the lazy way to stop what members don’t like.
“A filibuster (now) becomes a silent veto. They no longer have to debate and keep the floor open. It doesn’t force deliberation the way the filibuster is supposed to. It’s essentially this silent killing mechanism that stops legislation in its tracks,” said Spalding.
As a result, he says the American people glaze over while the Senate plays parliamentary games instead of publicly debating the best course for the nation.
“I think Congress too often hides behind processes, whether it’s the filibuster or reconciliation or omnibus legislation rather than doing the hard work of legislating. That’s the Madisonian answer here, and in the long run, that’s the best thing to solve our problems,” said Spalding.
He says that problem is front and center right now as GOP efforts to address Obamacare are complicated by the inability to get to 60 votes to do anything. As a result, Republicans are trying to shoehorn changes through the Senate by way of the budget tactic known as reconciliation, which only requires a simple majority of votes to begin or end debate but also restricts what can be considered in such circumstances.
“The Senate is forced to try to go around the filibusters so they use things like reconciliation, an obscure budget process rather than regular legislation to get policy matters done,” said Spalding, who also says the GOP should have been crafting and debating the bill in public rather than writing it behind closed doors like the Democrats did with Obamacare in 2009 and 2010.
Spalding says two simple changes in approach to the filibuster would maker a world of difference. First, he wants the Senate to return to the policy where all other business is halted until a filibuster is resolved. He also encourages Senate leaders to embrace the “two-speech” rule, which would allow each member two opportunities to speak as long as they want in opposition to a bill.
However, once all the opportunities for speeches are done, the bill would proceed to a simple up-or-down vote.
Spalding says this would be very simple to accomplish.
“One of the reasons I point to these two reforms is that neither one of them requires a rules change. All they actually require is for the majority leader to agree to do this. This is merely a procedural move,” said Spalding, noting that those policies used to be in place before getting changed by leaders back in 1970’s when Democrats ran the chamber.
Such moves would still allow for filibusters, but would require real filibusters where lawmakers are forced to stand for hours on end to demonstrate how fiercely they oppose a bill.
“So I’m in favor of legislating but also keeping the filibuster so you can object. But if you’re going to object, you’ve got to get up, you’ve got to debate and you’ve got to really filibuster,” said Spalding.
“You force the opposition to a piece of legislation to each get up there, and they can speak twice at whatever length they want, but it does come to an end at some point. The political point is made. Everything stops. The Senate shuts down and you get a filibuster. You have the effect but it does not stop the legislative branch from fulfilling its constitutional duties,” said Spalding.
The instant concern for those in the minority now or in the future is that Spalding’s approach all but guarantees the majority gets its way and that the minority’s ability to scuttle bad legislation is limited.
He acknowledges that’s true but says there is a remedy for that too.
“We shouldn’t hide behind it to stop bad things. We should argue to stop bad things and have more politics better elections and get better people in there,” said Spalding.
Left to the status quo, Spalding says the legislative branch of the U.S. government will only get weaker and weaker.
“Congress is the weakest branch. It doesn’t legislate. It doesn’t budget. Its muscles are so atrophied (that) we should think about the underlying reforms needed to revive it as an institution, which is good for constitutional government,” said Spalding.
Senate Republican leaders are still scrambling to craft a health care bill capable of attracting 50 GOP votes, and while success appears elusive right now, a prominent House conservative still believes a good bill can get passed thanks to the pressure from voters and the resolve of President Trump.
On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the revised Senate GOP will be revealed on Thursday. The first bill was shelved after several conservatives said it didn’t do enough to repeal Obamacare, while half a dozen or more moderates worried that it didn’t provide enough Medicaid spending or other federal assistance.
Democrats are increasingly brazen about their pursuit of single payer, a euphemism for government-run health care. They also accuse Republicans of seeking to repeal various Obamacare taxes as a means of benefiting the rich while millions of poor people scramble for coverage which would no longer be mandatory.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, says that’s complete fiction.
“It’s the rank-and-file, middle class and people that are just struggling to get by, that have been hurt more over the last eight years than in the last hundred years. They’re the ones whose health care is hurting. It’s not the rich guys. We’re not going to help them. They’re all set,” said Gohmert.
“We’ve got to help that just don’t have much, that are often referred to as poor and the middle class, that are working and doing everything to provide for health care for their families,” said Gohmert, who says those families are very stressed over skyrocketing premiums they can’t afford and don’t even provide much in benefits because their deductibles are also stratospheric.
However, Gohmert is fully aware of the problems the GOP is having in cobbling together 50 votes for anything in the Senate. While he says most Republicans have good intentions, others are gumming up the works with demands for big spending.
“There are others, including some Republicans, who say, ‘If we’re going to give people their freedom back, then you’re going to have to give us this many billions of dollars. Those people, if they want their freedom, when it comes to health care, they’re going to have to pony up tens of billions of more dollars before we let them have their freedom back,” said Gohmert.
“Really? Republicans are going to make people buy their own freedom? That’s just untenable,” said Gohmert.
Despite the rock road on Capitol Hill, Gohmert believes something effective can make it out of Congress, and he says the resolve of President Trump is the main reason for his optimism.
“One of the things that gives me that hope is having a president that says he’s not going to take no for an answer,” said Gohmert.
While Democrats expound on the horrors that would accompany a GOP health bill, Gohmert says there’s no theorizing about the damage done by Obamacare. He says he hears about it all the time from constituents.
“Business owner after business owner in my district and from around the country have complained directly saying, ‘Look, this is killing us. We want to hire more people, but we can’t because of Obamacare and that 50-employee limit you’ve got and the part time hours that were changed,” said Gohmert.
“People come up to me in tears saying, ‘Look, I’ve had to go to two part-time jobs now and I lost the benefits I had, all because of this stupid Obamacare,'” said Gohmert.
He also says seniors are feeling the brunt of President Obama’s slashing of more than $700 billion in Medicare spending.
“(Before Obamacare, if) they needed a procedure, they could get it done immediately. Now, they’re given months to wait on a waiting list. This is where rationed health care goes and it’s what happens when the government is put in charge of people’s health care,” said Gohmert.
Gohmert says he hears from many supporters who are resigned to single payer as a result of Republicans being unable to get a bill passed. The congressman says he will never concede that.
“I’m not giving up. There’s too many people in this Congress who want to do what we said. We’ve just got to push the leaders of the Senate, and maybe our own leader some, to get it done effectively,” said Gohmert.
Republicans in the Senate have been pouring cold water on expectations of producing a health care reform bill anytime soon, but a leading health care expert says the GOP realistically has just over three months to get it done.
“If they’re going to do this with only 51 votes in the Senate, they have to do it by September,” said Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner. “Frankly, I think they want to do it before the August recess so that they can get on with the rest of the agenda.”
The can officially start working on the bill now that House leaders have finally sent it to the upper chamber. It was on hold while lawmakers waited on the Congressional Budget Office scoring of the bill to make sure their calculations on how the legislation would impact the deficit were accurate. They were.
Despite moderate Republicans like Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Dean Heller, R-Nevada, saying the House bill was a non-starter for them, Turner suspects the final Senate version will end up looking pretty familiar.
“They will make some changes to the House bill and they will very much call it their own, but I think a lot of those structural elements of the safety net, the bridge to new coverage, the state flexibility on regulations and the Medicaid reform, I think we’re going to see all of that in there,” said Turner.
She says those four components are critical and are in the House bill: providing help for individual market consumers who no longer have reasonable coverage options, creating a transition to a market-based system, giving states more power to define plans and foster competition and changing Medicaid so it doesn’t devour state resources for all other priorities.
Turner says the House crafted it’s bill with Senate rules in mind.
“The House did try very hard to bend over backwards so that it’s version of the legislation complied with Senate rules,” she said. “They didn’t want the Senate to have to change it too much.”
Still, Turner does expect the Senate to spend more tax dollars on providing for people with pre-existing conditions.
“The Senate is going to dial things back in different ways and probably provide even more protections than the House bill did for pre-existing conditions protections. I do think that that has been an inflamed issue that is very much overstated,” said Turner.
“The House bill provided $138 billion to the states to be able to take care of people who have pre-existing conditions and have high health care costs. All evidence is that would be more than enough to do it,” said Turner.
Turner also suspects the Senate may be less conservative in curtailing Medicaid expansion than the House bill. And another issue that GOP moderates are likely to fight is the slashing of tax dollars for Planned Parenthood.
With the House bill passing precariously in May, it’s unclear what impact any substantial Senate changes will have on final passage. But Turner warns the House that whatever they get back from the Senate – if they get anything back from the Senate – may be their one chance to get anything done this year and maybe in this Congress.
“I think everybody knows that whatever the Senate gets through, the House is going to have a very difficult time changing it. I think it’s very likely going to be take it or leave it,” said Turner.
If we get to that point, Turner suspects voter outrage over the possibility of getting nothing done will likely compel passage of an imperfect bill.
“I don’t think any of them want to go back to the voters in 2018 next year and say, ‘Sorry, for four elections we told you we were going to repeal Obamacare and we just kind of couldn’t figure out how to do it.’ They all know they have to figure out how to do it,” said Turner.
David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss President Trump’s executive orders that scrutinize the amount of land designated as national monuments and Obama-era restrictions on offshore drilling. They also groan as it looks like the update health care bill is also struggling to find the votes to pass. And they take aim at the ACLU for suing a Catholic hospital for refusing surgery for a transgender patient.
House Republicans are reeling from their failure to pass health care reform legislation, but a key House Freedom Caucus member says the GOP is getting close to a consensus that will make conservatives happy and make it to President Trump’s desk.
Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., a former economics professor, says the embarrassing spectacle of having to pull the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, from the floor never had to happen. He says the arbitrary voting deadline imposed by House leadership doomed the bill just as critical common ground was found between conservatives and the White House.
“At the end of that process, we were already making good headway. We met with President Trump himself. He OK’d a lot of the regulatory pieces we wanted. Based on what he said, we thought we were at a yes. Then it got mulled around and kicked around on Capitol Hill and it turned into a no somehow,” said Brat.
He says House conservatives were also very receptive to some of Vice President Mike Pence’s ideas to decentralize the health care sector.
“It’s just to go the states route and let moderate or liberal states keep the elements of Obamacare they like, let conservative states take the legs out to lower prices the way they see fit that matches their population,” said Brat.
But despite the promises, many Freedom Caucus members couldn’t vote yes for a very simple reason.
“That hasn’t ever been delivered in print yet,” said Brat, noting the official language of the AHCA never reflected the changes Trump and conservative lawmakers agreed upon.
Brat says this has been a frustrating process since the AHCA is not what he says Republicans promised to voters in the past four election cycles.
“We thought we were going to end up in pretty good shape with some competition across state lines, HSA’s and private innovation, price discovery and transparency, so people could shop for health care products and know what they’re paying for,” said Brat.
“Then we got a bill put before us that is way too much federal government which is way too federal government-oriented for my taste and three weeks to deal with it,” said Brat.
Despite his disappointment in the AHCA, Brat says he’s trying to scratch his way to supporting the bill, with the right changes.
“Some of us weren’t so happy with that product, but we also want to keep the Trump agenda going on and realize you need tax revenues to do tax reform in short order. So we want to get to yes but we’ve got to be plausible and reasonable,” said Brat.
It’s a fine balancing act, says Brat, as conservatives faced intense pressure to back the health bill put forth by their own party.
“I’ve had very intelligent people say, ‘Just forget about it. Just vote yes on that bill and move on because we want tax reform.’ Are you serious? It’s one-sixth of the entire economy and just dispatch it?” said Brat.
He says Republicans have a chance to address this and other issues that may not come around again for a very long time.
“This is a once-in-a-century opportunity we have with the House and the Senate and the White House. So this isn’t really the time to do marginal, small little adjustments. This is the time to get your first principles right and set up an economy and a health care system that our kids will flourish under,” said Brat.
And for the record, Brat says moderates are much more responsible for the AHCA mess than the House Freedom Caucus.
“There was a certain number of House Freedom Caucus folks that were a no vote, but it wasn’t unanimous. There were way more moderates who were going to do a jail break once the [number of GOP no votes] got to 20. It wasn’t reported at all. It’s not a blame game. Let’s just tell the truth out there in public so we can get to a solution. You’ve got to know the truth before you can find good policy options,” said Brat.
Brat says the media, including the Wall Street Journal, are not telling the truth on policy either. He says stories of heartless Republican policy proposals are simply not matched by the facts.
“Not only are we OK with pre-existing conditions, we’re OK with a $120 billion pot for high-risk pools for pre-existing conditions. Then we’re OK with the main amendment language of (Ariz. Rep David) Schweikert, (Alabama Rep. Gary) Palmer and (Maryland Rep.) Andy Harris, which also helps pre-existing conditions. It’s kind of been applauded by everyone for reducing prices for health care and providing more coverage,” said Brat.
“The high-risk pool is the solution there, because five percent of the folks with pre-existing conditions of a serious nature are 50 percent of the health care costs of the country. They can’t get insurance. Obamacare’s failure was that it just focused on insurance coverage. It never focused on price. That’s why you had death spirals, because people’s premiums are going up 30 percent and insurance companies can’t stay in business,” said Brat.
Brat is confident House members can reach a consensus in the week or two after lawmakers return from recess. And he warns Senate Republicans not to tinker much with any legislation the House sends their way.
“The bill better come back very close to how we sent it over. So if there’s a major rewrite on the Senate side, then it’s business as usual, and we’ve got to do better,” said Brat.
Insurance companies are more frequently refusing to cover the cost of prescription drugs, even when their plans promise that they will. This leaves patients less healthy and pharmaceutical companies stripped of incentive to innovate. American Society for Preventive Cardiology President Dr. Seth Baum explains why this problem is getting a lot worse, why it could stifle the advancement of new medicines and how individual patients can be a vital part of the solution.
President Trump and GOP leaders are furiously trying to find the votes necessary to pass the American Health Care Act, and while some news ‘yes’ votes are trickling in, the conservative pushback is also intensifying.
By most vote counts, Republicans are still a handful of votes away from being able to send the AHCA on to the Senate. With all Democrats expected to oppose the bill, GOP leaders can only afford to lose 21 members on the final tally. Unofficial whip counts in recent hours show 25-26 Republicans as firm or likely ‘no’ votes. Sen. Rand Paul expects at least 35 Republicans to oppose it and predicts leaders will scratch the vote.
But Trump and GOP leaders have been able to sway a few more Republican votes to the ‘yes’ column, including Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Calif.
“We have to ask ourselves, if that’s all we get, does that give us a better system than the one we have right now?” said McClintock. “It’s far, far from perfect, but it does move us in the right direction. I am satisfied that, overall, it does give us a better system than the one we’ve got right now.”
McClintock believes Republican leaders made a mistake in insisting on moving a bill that does not address all needed solutions through the reconciliation process.
“The biggest problem is they’re using this convoluted process called reconciliation that doesn’t allow them to repeal the entire act, doesn’t allow them to replace the entire act and requires a lot of additional administrative regulations, which are going to be restricted by what the most liberal court in the country allows them to do, and by follow-up legislation whose future in the Senate is highly dubious,” said McClintock.
McClintock says Republicans and Democrats are responsible for the “convoluted” approach.
“Leadership chose that path precisely because of Democratic obstruction in the Senate. The reconciliation process allows us to bypass that 60-vote cloture threshold and pass the bill with a simple 51 votes,” said McClintock.
However, he believes that a full repeal with all the market based reforms could pass the House and Senate if GOP leaders were willing to play hardball.
“I think the pressure on those eight Democratic holdouts would have been irresistible, particularly if (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell said, ‘If you want to filibuster this one, you’re going to have to actually go down there and filibuster it. You’re going to have to stand by your desks and talk until you drop. The record is 58 days. Good luck breaking that. When you’re done, we’re all going to vote,'” said McClintock.
However, McClintock says that option is off the table and he’s comfortable voting for the current bill.
“Those were arguments I made months ago and lost months ago. We now have this bill in front of us and I think it more than merits an ‘aye’ vote,” he said.
McClintock wishes there were provisions in the bill allowing purchase of health insurance across state lines and that yanked out the Obamacare insurance regulations that are considered key drivers of premium and deductible increases.
But he says there is a lot to like in the bill as well.
“It ends the individual mandate that forces people to buy products they don’t want. It ens the employer mandate that’s trapped a lot of low-income workers in part-time jobs. It begins to restore consumers’ freedom of choice, which I think is the best guarantee of quality and value in any market,” said McClintock.
“It allows people to meet more of their health care needs with pre-tax dollars. It relieves the premium base of the enormous cost of pre-existing conditions by moving those expenses to a block-granted assigned risk pool,” he added.
But while there are some notable improvements in the AHCA, for conservatives who have pushed “repeal and replace” since Obamacare became law seven years ago, the House bill simply fails to deliver on that promise.
“It’s good entitlement reforms in terms of some of the Medicaid reforms that are in the bill,” said Chris Jacobs, a former aide to Mike Pence and former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is now senior health policy analyst at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and CEO of the Juniper Research Group.
“But I think it’s far short of a full repeal. It leaves Obamacare’s architecture in place when it comes to all the mandates and the insurance regulations that are driving up premiums. We need to repeal those mandates and go back to respecting state sovereignty and the states’ role in regulating health care and health insurance,” said Jacobs.
GOP leaders have characterized the AHCA as a binary choice for their colleagues: either support the bill or support the existing health care system by default. Jacobs is not buying that argument.
“That’s a false choice, the idea that we must do something, that this is something therefore we must do this has a flaw in that logic,” said Jacobs.
Sponsors of the AHCA say getting rid of the insurance regulations or “Obamacare architecture” is outside the bounds of what can be moved through reconciliation. Jacobs says the handling of this very bill proves that is not true.
“I understand the limitations of the reconciliation process, but you have to at least try to repeal the major insurance regulations that are in there. The bill amends some of them, repeals some of them and leaves others in place. It’s an ideologically inconsistent position,” said Jacobs.
“If your position is we can’t do any of this because of Senate procedures, then why are we repealing some of them and modifying some of them. If you can modify them, you can repeal them,” he said.
McClintock finally got on board with the AHCA after successfully sponsoring an amendment in the House Budget Committee that would provide an additional $75 billion to help people afford health insurance as they transition from Obamacare subsidies to tax credits if the new bill becomes law. He is also confident that within a few years, Americans will start to see noticeable price decreases in health coverage.
But that same manager’s amendment that satisfied McClintock also contains language that could threaten benefits for up to seven million veterans. Jacobs says the technical glitch in the language shows the need to slow down the rush to pass the legislation and avoid ugly surprises after it becomes law, similar to what occurred with Obamacare.
As the furious battle for votes plays out, Jacobs hopes leaders pull back and rework the bill to honor the original campaign promises.
“There are folks negotiating now as we speak in the Freedom Caucus to repeal some of the insurance regulations and the mandates. Hopefully that succeeds and we get to a better bill that conservatives can support,” said Jacobs.
McClintock says Republicans should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
“When you pull together a group of people to benefit from their combined wisdom, unfortunately you’re also going to get their combined follies, prejudices and misjudgments. You can never get a perfect product out of this process. What you can get is the product that is the most acceptable and moves us forward,” said McClintock.
The House Republican health care bill cleared another hurdle on Thursday, but one of the most fiscally conservative GOP lawmakers says the bill will never pass unless it acts to immediately reduce the cost of coverage and includes repeal of Obamacare’s burdensome regulations.
The House Budget Committee approved the American Health Care Act, 19-17. Three Republicans voted against it, including Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va.
“The budget committee went forward with it, but some of the guys are getting promises that we’re going to have some fixes and some fairly significant fixes going forward,” said Brat, who believes the Republicans are heading toward disaster on their present course, largely because they don’t address health care costs effectively.
“Both conservative and liberal think tanks and health experts agreed that the current House bill maintains the current structure of Obamacare,” said Brat. “You keep the individual exchanges. You keep the individual market and you keep the insurance regulations, so I don’t know how anyone expects the price of health care to go down.”
And without lower costs, Brat says Republicans are walking into a political buzz saw with no upside.
“That’s the big thing we have to fix and we all want Trump to be successful. For him to be successful, we have to make those changes or in a few years we’ll be in another death spiral,” said Brat. “It’s fairly simple. Either you lower the price of this thing so people can afford it or else you’re going to pay the price politically.”
He says the key to driving costs down is to address insurance regulations, a priority President Trump has been pushing for months.
“Our leadership bill has prices going down 10 percent after three years. So we’ve got price increases coming. We’ve got to make sure that does not happen. The biggest way you can prevent that is to get at the insurance regulations,” said Brat.
There’s also the issue of choosing what’s in a plan. For example, Brat notes that because of the many requirements Obamacare mandates in every approved health plan, it’s impossible for young, healthy people to buy low-cost, high-deductible catastrophic plans.
GOP leaders currently argue that market-based reforms would be included in separate legislation from the first bill which deals mainly with taxation and mandates. That’s the third phase of replacing Obamacare. They also say regulatory repeal is not in the bill because Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price can roll those back unilaterally. That is phase two.
Brat is not impressed.
“The problem there is it’s not permanent. We’ll have this kind of bumper pool every four years, when you switch administrations you’ll change health care for the whole country. We want that that bucket number two, that Price is going to take care of, to be put into the bill itself,” said Brat.
He says allowing greater competition for coverage and including regulatory reform in the bill could salvage the legislation for many conservatives.
“I think if leadership goes forward with that and pushes it over to the Senate, that’ll get a lot of people to ‘yes.’ That could be the sweet spot,” said Brat.
How will this play out in the coming weeks? Brat says Trump is the key.
“I don’t think we’re even close to having the votes, so Trump will come in and negotiate and put his foot down on a system that he wants. He wants to increase competition across state lines and to reduce the costs for everybody so it’s affordable. If we can get it done in a month or two, it can be signed, sealed and delivered if we can zap these insurance regulations,” said Brat.
He says those components would also allow Republicans, who ran on repealing and replacing Obamacare, to make good on their promises to the American people.
“We can put [a bill] together brick by brick but the key is you’ve got to start out with the glue. Repeal, that was the promise. Then move forward from that and build a scaffolding up from there,” said Brat.
“You want to start with free markets and then add a safety net. You don’t want to start with socialism and then promise free markets later. That never happens,” said Brat.
So why haven’t these ideas been in the bill from the start? Brat suspects quite a few GOP senators are looking to dodge controversial votes.
“The Senate has become kind of a high noon tea society over there. They’re not taking tough votes. They don’t want this bill to come over in the first place. I think they’re using that as a way to duck. Even our side uses that as a way to duck from pushing through what we have to get through,” said Brat.
Brat also rejects the leadership’s argument that market reforms and regulatory repeal can’t be included in a reconciliation process. He says that’s just not true. He says the Senate can simply vote to determine if a provision is tax or budget-related.
He says getting this major overhaul done and done right is a matter of political will, and adds that not is the time to demonstrate that will.
“Let’s roll the TV cameras in there. Let’s put that live in front of the American people so they can see the process of their own government at work for them, and I think we’ll have a big win,” said Brat.
More of the day’s biggest headlines…how are Obama and McCain different when it comes to health care reform? What significant action did the Fed take on Wednesday to help ease the financial crisis? And what is Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson saying about where we stand in this crisis? We have all the answers. Listen here!