24 Dec 2009

It’s Not Over Yet

Jeffrey H. Anderson points out just how narrowly the democrats succeeded in getting this far. That effort required compromises in the Senate contradicting the deals that made passage in he House possible. Now they have to go back to the House members whose concessions were eliminated by the Senate and try to get them to stay on board.

If public opinion continues in an increasingly negative direction, it will be harder and harder for them. It is not over yet.

The Democrats passed a highly unpopular bill with two votes to spare in the House and none to spare in the Senate. Now they have to blend the bills (mostly reflecting the Senate one) and get them back through both chambers — after hearing from their constituents over the holidays.

Furthermore, the House bill passed only because of relatively strong anti-abortion language demanded by pro-life Democrats in particularly precarious seats. The Senate bill doesn’t contain that language. So either the anti-abortion Democrats in the House or the pro-abortion Democrats in the Senate are going to have to cave. Combine this with other issues, and the Democrats’ almost-nonexistent margin for error, and final passage is anything but certain.

Additionally, the Democrats’ bills would not go into effect in any meaningful way until at least 2013. They could have been written to go into effect immediately, but the Democrats made the calculation that it was better to delay implementation by several years so that they could mislead the American people by citing “10-year costs” for six years’ worth of of Obamacare. That enabled them to pitch an approximately $2.5 trillion bill (its real first-10-year costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office) as an $871 billion bill. But that decision has left us with this reality: The Democrats can only implement their overhaul, and avoid is repeal, if the American people choose to send them back to Capitol Hill and to the White House in 2010 and 2012. The American people, and not the Democratic party, will ultimately decide Obamacare’s fate.

But the American people will also decide the fate of Obamacare in a much more immediate sense. Across recent weeks, Democratic representatives in both congressional chambers have taken tremendous heat from the Obama administration. Now, over the holidays, they’ll get to interact with their constituents face-to-face. They’ve felt the immediate pressures of Washington; now they’ll get to feel the pressure from those who sent them there — the vast majority of whom oppose Obamacare. …

Now is the time to fight.

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