Say Anything Blog
December 22, 2009

Senator Reid sets up a rule to ignore another Senate rule.

Apparently found buried deep in Harry Reid’s last-minute amendment to the health care legislation was this passage changing Senate rules so that the control over doctors and patients given to the Medicare Advisory Panels (government regulators tasked with determining how much of what kind of care you should get when) can only be repealed with a super majority in the Senate.

Or 67 votes.

Upon examination of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment to the health care legislation, Senators discovered section 3403. That section changes the rules of the United States Senate.

To change the rules of the United States Senate, there must be sixty-seven votes.

Section 3403 of Senator Harry Reid’s amendment requires that “it shall not be in order in the Senate or the House of Representatives to consider any bill, resolution, amendment, or conference report that would repeal or otherwise change this subsection.” The good news is that this only applies to one section of the Obamacarelegislation . The bad news is that it applies to regulations imposed on doctors and patients by the Independent Medicare Advisory Boards a/k/a the Death Panels.

Section 3403 of Senator Reid’s legislation also states, “Notwithstanding rule XV of the Standing Rules of the Senate, a committee amendment described in subparagraph (A) may include matter not within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Finance if that matter is relevant to a proposal contained in the bill submitted under subsection (c)(3).” In short, it sets up a rule to ignore another Senate rule.

[efoods]This is problematic for two reasons.

First, if this bill becomes law we won’t be able to get rid of at least parts of it again without a super majority.

Second, changing the rules of the Senate (which this amendment explicitly does per its own language) is itself something that requires a super majority vote.  Last time I checked, the Democrats barely eked out the 60 votes they needed for cloture.

Per the post linked above, Senator Jim DeMint has apparently challenged this matter and the majority Democrats ruled that this was simply a change in procedure and not Senaterules.  Despite, you know, what the amendment actually says.

Moral of the story?  This is why time should be given to read the bills.

Video of Senator DeMint objecting to this language in the Reid amendment.

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