Undaunted, the Congress returned after Labor Day, the Democrats negotiated with themselves in private, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi forced a bill to the House floor in November. The House passed the Democrats' bill by an overwhelming vote of 220-215 - a five vote margin.
Meanwhile over in the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid kept the Senate in seven days a week for weeks on end, bought off Mary Landrieu (D-La) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb) with tens of billions of dollars paid for by taxpayers in the other 48 states, and finally got to the necessary 60 votes on December 21.
In January, Scott Brown won the Senate election in Massachusetts and cut the Dems' margin in the Senate from 60-40 to 59-41. No more filibuster proof majority.
Regular readers know how loathe I am to blow my own horn. However, in this case I must take exception to my rule against personal horn-blowing to remind you that way back on December 16 - this would be about a month before the election in Massachusetts - I wrote the following:
Because of the enormous budget implications of this legislation, it is quite likely that Harry Reid (D-Nev) will bring up [health care reform] under reconciliation. Republicans will scream bloody murder. Democrats will sheepishly withdraw to the cloak room.
The bill will pass the House and the Senate and, healthy or not, it will go to the President for his signature.
I got a stack of nasty-grams from senior Congressional and White House reporters informing me that I was an idiot because that simply could not, and would not happen.
Well. Guess. What?
According to yesterday's Los Angeles Times:
Democrats in the Senate are rallying behind the use of a bare-knuckle legislative procedure known as budget reconciliation to push through a separate package of healthcare measures to satisfy liberal Democrats in the House.
Health care reform will pass and Obama's legacy will be secure, but like King Pyrrhus, the price of his victory may well be the loss of Democrat majorities in the House and Senate.
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