Congrats to Congress

When the Senate can operate as the Founders meant – allowing simple majorities to pass legislation – things move tolerably fast. The House passed Affordable Care late on Sunday, the Senate passed the reconciliation sidecar (with small amendments) on Wednesday, and the House just passed the amended sidecar. This makes Affordable Care more affordable, strips out some bad deals inserted to secure Senate passage, and – as a bonus – reforms the inequitable student loan system so that less money goes to banks and more stays in the pockets of students and their families.

Pretty good work for a week. In that week, the reforms passed on Sunday have grown more popular. People finally got a chance to see the bill itself, with the press actually discussing the policy, not babbling about Beltway minutiae about the process by which the bill was passed. In the end, what matters is whether Affordable Care makes life better, not whether the bill had a special deal for Nebraska which had to be stripped out.

So congratulations (and Happy Birthday) to Nancy Pelosi, to Harry Reid, to President Obama, and to the more than 30 million Americans who will now enjoy healthcare coverage!


  1. #1 Childermass
    March 26, 2010

    “When the Senate can operate as the Founders meant – allowing simple majorities to pass legislation – things move tolerably fast.”


    Funny how the right to unlimited debate was a right in the House of Representatives until the 1840s. And in the Senate, Cloture was not invented until 1917 and then it required a two-thirds vote instead of the three-fifths standard used today.

    Thus historically the ability to filibuster was, theoretically far greater than is now. Furthermore the founders clearly gave both houses of congress the absolute right to make their own rules. Thus the comment that the founders would oppose such tactics is clearly wrong. Heck if they really wanted simple majority rule, they would not have given the president a veto and insulated the senate from the will of the people by long-terms and having state legislatures elect senators instead of direct election by the people (which was changed by Constitutional Amendment in the early 20th century).

    What has changed is that we now have a political party, the Republicans, that has decided it needs to filibuster every single measure considered by the Senate that it opposes and that rules have made it possible to have a filibuster without have to talk 24/7. (Though admittedly the Democrats exploited that too when they were last in minority though not to the extent the GOP is now.)

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