The people still have power; exercise your right and vote all them out. Vote Independent ! Screw this See-Saw crap. On the Ballot, just pick someone else but not them.
By David Espo Associated Press
WASHINGTON • All roads lead to “Obamacare” for Republicans.
So much so that they acted like they had barely hit a small speed bump when Democrats voted unilaterally on Thursday to weaken century-old Senate filibuster rules and make it harder for the GOP to block confirmation of President Barack Obama’s nominees.
Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, with his eyes on the political road ahead and a GOP-damaging partial government shutdown in the rearview mirror, chalked the Senate shift up to “broken promises, double standards and raw power — the same playbook that got us Obamacare.”
The calculation seems to be that there will be time for Republicans to retaliate for the Democratic maneuver that swept away generations of precedent in the tradition-bound Senate. The change didn’t eliminate filibusters, and a spirit of revenge actually may give the GOP an incentive to launch them in greater numbers.
But not now, when the health care law is seen ever less favorably by the public, and has dragged the president’s approval ratings to the lowest levels of his time in the White House.
Each time McConnell mentions the shift in Senate procedure, he’s tugged back to health care.
“It’s basically the same debate,” he said Thursday, adding that Democrats are trying to shift the public’s attention away from the president’s health care overhaul.
He singled out Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore. “If I were a senator from Oregon, which hasn’t enrolled a single person yet for its ‘Obamacare’ exchange, I would probably want to shift the focus, too,” McConnell said.
Merkley is one of several Democrats seeking re-election next year who are so dismayed by the administration’s performance on health care that they support legislation to weaken a core concept of the program. Asked about McConnell’s remarks, Merkley concentrated on GOP filibusters: “Let’s focus on the reality — the American people want this institution to function.”
The health care bill he supports, filed by Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., would require insurance companies to continue selling coverage permanently that is deemed substandard under the health care law.
The short-term effect would be to reverse millions of cancellations that insurance companies have sent out to consumers in recent weeks. Also, to permit the bill’s backers to claim political credit for easing any pain on constituents.
The longer-term consequence would likely be higher costs for millions of consumers seeking coverage that meets Obamacare standards, because those customers on average are older, sicker, and more expensive to insure than the group that would stay on cheaper, less comprehensive plans.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., also seeking a new term next year, favors a two-year requirement for insurance companies to renew existing individual coverage.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheenm, D-N.H., another Democrat whose name will be on the ballot in 2014, favors a two-month delay in the law’s requirement for individuals to buy insurance or face a penalty. The extension could be longer if the HealthCare.gov website isn’t “fully functional” by Dec. 1, she said in a statement.
Nor is the health care overhaul front and center on Shaheen’s official Senate website. The site features a rolling series of images that tout her work to pass bipartisan energy legislation, attack deficits, overhaul the nation’s budget process, stamp out sexual assaults in the military and celebrate the opening of a new bridge linking New Hampshire with Maine.
Republican senators appear with Shaheen in three of the images, Obama in none.