Politico has a nice piece dissecting who lied, who exaggerated, etc. Its conclusion?
Obama exaggerated. Boehner lied. Reid was incorrect. Ryan is wrong.
An army of partisan fact checkers bombarded the media through seven hours of the health care summit with such deep thoughts — replete with cherry-picked data — confirming the adage that there’s lies, damn lies and statistics.
Some of the jabs were dead on, but some were merely meant to back up partisan talking points. Still, there were plenty of factually challenged statements
The AP’s Alan Fram lays out the history — and future — of reconciliation, the course that Democrats seem increasingly likely to pursue. He writes”
“History shows that with the tables turned, Republicans have embraced the process. Of the 22 reconciliation bills Congress has sent a president since the procedure was first used in 1980, 16 were approved by a Republican-controlled Senate, including for President George W. Bush’s big 2001 tax cut.”
The Center for Public Integrity documents the army of lobbyists recruited to fight the health-insurance reform war in Washington. “… more than 1,750 companies and organizations hired about 4,525 lobbyists — eight for each member of Congress — to influence health reform bills in 2009,” it found.
“Among industries, 207 hospitals lined up to lobby, followed by 105 insurance companies and 85 manufacturing companies. Trade, advocacy, and professional organizations trumped them all with 745 registered groups that lobbied on health reform bills, illustrating the common Washington strategy of special interests banding together to pool money and increase their influence.
Among the most visible organizations in the halls of Congress, AARP deployed 56 in-house lobbyists and two from outside firms to work the issue on behalf of its members. The pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce deployed 47 lobbyists, all but eight from outside firms. The corporate titans who direct the Business Roundtable deployed 40, five from outside firms, and the American Medical Association had 33, 11 from outside firms. The data also revealed that the roster of groups trying to mold legislation went far beyond corporate and health care interests to include such unlikely entities as Americans for the Arts, and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.”
The Wall Street Journal editorial board complains that the session was all just prelude to the already planned use of reconciliation:
“In the end, after all the bipartisan cooing, the President’s 20-minute closing argument explained where the debate really is. Democrats won the election and they are going to do what they want to do, starting next week and on a partisan vote if they can shanghai enough members.
The point of yesterday’s session was to give a soothing, moderate political gloss to a government health-care takeover that will raise costs, greatly expand the entitlement state, and reduce choice and competition—the opposite of everything Mr. Obama claims.”
And the New York Times editorial board reached a similar conclusion about the inevitability of reconciliation, if not about the bill itself:
Here is a basic fact: If the House Democrats voted tomorrow to approve the Senate bill, health care reform would become the law of the land.
The president and Speaker Nancy Pelosi should push the House to accept the fundamentally sound Senate bill. If they still cannot garner enough votes from their own caucus, they should alter the Senate bill slightly with parallel legislation that could be passed with budget reconciliation.
Mr. Obama needs to keep explaining to Americans that this health care reform is critical — to give them security, to hold down costs and ease the strain on federal budgets. His main challenge, and his best chance, for passing it is to get his own party in line.