Jan
27
2010

Healthcare and Budget Reconciliation…Again

The lead in an article in today's New York Times (1/26/10) tells us that the White House and Congressional Democrats will soon decide "whether to use a procedural maneuver" to pass a healthcare bill with less than 60 votes in the Senate. That process is called budget reconciliation; it would be a complicated process, to be sure, and as the Times tells us "it carries numerous risks, including the possibility of a political backlash against what Republicans would be sure to cast as parliamentary trickery." Well yes, they could indeed say that–and reporters will type it into stories. As the […]

Sep
30
2009

NYT: Swerving to the Right Is a 'Middle-of-the-Road Approach'

Right turn only (cc photo: Phillip Winn)

In a story about the Senate Finance Committee voting down two amendments that would have added a public option to the committee's healthcare bill, New York Times reporters Robert Pear and Jackie Calmes (9/29/09) write, "The votes vindicated the middle-of-the-road approach taken by the committee chairman, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana." The Times just had a poll that found 65 percent of respondents were in favor of a public option, with just 26 percent opposed. To call the approach favored by the rightmost one-quarter of public opinion "middle-of-the-road"–well, maybe someone ought to take away Pear and Calmes' car keys […]

Apr
24
2009

Obscure, High-Risk Senate Business-as-Usual

New York Times reporter Robert Pear (4/23/09) joined the rest of the media world expressing discomfort with the idea that the Senate Democrats might adopt budget reconciliation rules, which wouldthey would use to pass major legislation on a majority vote rather than seeking 60 votes. His lead: With solid majorities in both houses of Congress, Democrats are tempted to use their political muscle to speed passage of health care legislation with minimal concessions to the Republican minority. That approach may be the only way they can fulfill President Obama's campaign promises, but it carries high risks as well. In the […]

Mar
13
2009

NYT Rules for Democrats: Don't Annoy Republicans

The federal government has to decide what to do in a court case concerning same-sex partner benefits. Robert Pear sees this as a problem for Barack Obama in today's New York Times ("Obama on Spot Over a Benefit to Gay Couples"), explaining: As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama said he would "fight hard" for the rights of gay couples. As a senator, he sponsored legislation that would have provided health benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Now, Mr. Obama is in a tough spot. If he supports the personnel office on denying benefits to the San Francisco court employees, […]