Health Care Will Pass

March 19, 2010 - 5:40 AM
I'm not rooting for it, but I think that is what will happen.
I think that the health care bill will be adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives on Sunday. It may need that screwy "having deemed to have passed" nonsense that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has up her sleeve or it may pass on a straight up-or-down vote.
 
SIDEBAR
 
In 2003 the House printed 550,000 copies of a document titled: "How Our Laws Are Made."
 
(A)None of them apparently made it to Speaker Pelosi's office because,
(B) a word search did not turn up a reference to a bill "deemed" to have passed without an actual vote.
 
END SIDEBAR
 
How do I know the health care bill is going to pass? I don't. I'm not rooting for it, but I think that is what will happen.
 
And on Monday … guess what? The sun will come up. The Earth will continue to spin on its axis. America will not be officially renamed: France; neither Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, nor Haile Selassie will not have come back to life; and Tiger Woods' return to competitive play will set an all-time record for viewers of the Masters.
 
Here's the point: The Democrats are only doing what Democrats do when they have the power to do it. If Republicans hadn't done so badly at the polls in 2006 and 2008 this wouldn't have happened.
 
Let's review the bidding: In the 109th Congress (2005-2007) there were 232 Republicans, 202 Democrats and one Independent. The GOP had a comfortable majority.
 
Too comfortable, it turned out, because following the election of November of 2006, the 110th Congress went to work in January of 2007 with 233 Democrats and 202 Republicans. Democrats had just a comfortable a majority.
 
A majority to which they added in the election of 2008 by picking up an additional 24 seats to go into the 111th Congress with a margin of 257 to 178.
 
That's far from the worst deficit the GOP has found itself in. When I first came to Washington in 1977 (post-Watergate) the split was 292 to 143. Because you will run out of fingers and toes I did the arithmetic for you. Democrats had a margin of 149 seats.
 
Even that wasn't the worst. Since the House went to 435 Members in 1913 the lowest number of Republicans was … 88 in 1937 which was the result of the election of 1936 - the beginning of Franklin D. Roosevelt's second term.
 
I have a theory that it is Roosevelt's first two terms upon which President Barack Obama has chosen to model himself. In those eight years Roosevelt forced through, among other programs, the following:
 
- Civilian Conservation Corps
- Federal Trade Commission
- Agricultural Adjustment Administration
- Securities and Exchange Commission
- Tennessee Valley Authority
- Works Progress Administration
- Social Security
- National Labor Relations Act
- United States Housing Authority
- Fair Labor Standards Act (minimum wage)
 
Nevertheless, the economy remained intractably awful. Throughout the New Deal the median jobless rate was 17.2%.
 
Adding to Roosevelt's woes, the U.S. Supreme Court kept blocking many of his programs saying that too much power which the Constitution reserved for the Legislative Branch was being usurped by the Executive Branch.
 
Roosevelt came up with a scheme to add six Justices (the legislation called for one new federal judge or Justice to be appointed for every sitting jurist over the age of 70). That plan was defeated by Senate Democrats but it showed that Roosevelt was willing to do anything he needed to do in order to get his legislative programs operational.
 
That is a lesson not lost on Barack Obama.
 
There is no record of FDR, during a State of the Union message, having pointed an accusing finger at Justices of the Supreme Court sitting 20 feet in front of him during the New Deal as President Obama did earlier this year.
 
That bit of theatrics might cost Barack Obama a great deal because it may well be that the current Supreme Court, and not the House Rules Committee, will have the final word on the scale and scope of national health insurance.
 
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Very excellent links including "How our Law are Made," a short history of FDR, a closer look at the Court Packing Scheme, and Party Divisions in the U.S. House going back to 1789. Also an extremely rare VIDEO Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day.