President Obama who touted his run for office as bringing fundamental change and post-partisanship to Washington, is now demanding an up or down vote bypassing Republicans. Obama stated during his campaign that health care reform could not be passed with a simple majority but required a large consensus among lawmakers. It appears that he has gone back on yet another campaign promise or stance. RealClearPolitics puts it this way:
FIRED-UP PRESIDENT DEMANDS ‘UP-OR-DOWN VOTE’ ON HEALTH CARE…. Watching President Obama’s speech this afternoon on the way forward on health care reform, I noticed something I haven’t seen from the always-cool chief executive in a while: real passion.
It was unmistakable — this president wasn’t just making the case for reform, he was practically demanding it. Forget any rumors you may have heard about half-measures or additional compromises. President Obama is going all in.
From the outset, the president reminded his audience why the notion of reform being “rammed through” is silly. Referencing last week’s summit, Obama noted:
“This meeting capped off a debate that began with a similar summit nearly one year ago. Since then, every idea has been put on the table….
“I don’t see how another year of negotiations would help. Moreover, the insurance companies aren’t starting over,” Obama said, rejecting Republican calls to begin anew on an effort to remake the health care system.
The president made his appeal as Democratic leaders in Congress surveyed their rank and file for the votes needed to pass legislation by majority vote – invoking rules that deny Senate Republicans the right to block it through endless stalling debate. Obama specifically endorsed that approach
GOP leaders were unmoved, despite Obama’s declaration that he had incorporated a few of their proposals into his revised legislation.
The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said a decision by Democrats to invoke rules that bar filibusters would be “met with outrage” by the public, and he said Obama was pushing a sweeping bill that voters don’t want.
“They’ve had enough of this yearlong effort to get a win for the Democratic Party at any price to the American people,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.