It seems that trying to ram through the U.S. Senate an enormous, highly controversial, and very expensive piece of legislation isn’t as easy as one would think. This report explains that health-care reform is sputtering along:
On the third day of a divisive debate, Democrats threatened to keep the Senate in session through the Christmas holiday if necessary to pass a healthcare reform bill that President Barack Obama has made his top domestic priority.
The U.S. Senate debate on a sweeping healthcare overhaul stumbled toward gridlock on Wednesday, with frustrated Democrats considering new procedural moves after Republicans blocked votes on the first amendments.
This, of course, is nothing new for the “greatest deliberative body in the world.” The Republicans aren’t impressed with Democrats’ demand for speed. (“‘They expect to have a right to weigh in,’ Republican Senator Lamar Alexander told reporters. ‘The Senate is a place where we have generally unlimited debate, generally unlimited amendments, so we’re just getting started on this bill.’”) And Sen. Judd Gregg has a guide to parliamentary options to help his colleagues select which procedures they’d like to employ.
There is nothing in the least improper nor surprising about this. Democrats imagined they could craft a bill in secret, disregard the building public opposition, and ignore the minority party. They are finding out it’s not so easy given the Senate’s rules. The Senate is playing its historic and constitutionally appropriate role in slowing down a legislative freight train.
After all, if the bill is so wonderful, more debate and discussion can only work to its sponsors’ advantage, right? Well, there’s the rub. Democrats are freaking out, quite plainly, because with each passing week and month, the chances that this monstrosity will pass diminish.