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Republicans and the Nelson deal

The GOP has spent much of the last hour attacking Democrats for the Nelson deal and its compatriots. But this is a mess they created. No filibuster from the Republicans? No Nelson deal, because Democrats can pass the legislation with 51 votes. But put that aside. Republicans are also blocking attempts to remove the Nelson deal from the legislation through the reconciliation process.

So the Republican argument, put succinctly, is vote against this bill because of concessions our filibuster forced you to include and our obstructionism won't let you remove. It's a clever strategy, I guess, but not the sort of thing any of them will brag to their grandkids about.

By Ezra Klein  |  March 21, 2010; 3:56 PM ET
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Does it make you happier in life to be able to lie to yourself so easily? It's the Republicans fault the Dems couldn't get the votes to pass this without bribing people? It's the Republicans fault the Dems couldn't get enough votes to avoid a filibuster?

You're pathetic. And we are, unfortunately, governed by people much like you.

Posted by: kenobi1 | March 21, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Love CSPAN at the moment - Supak on one screen and Jesse Jr. on the other.

Posted by: leoklein | March 21, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

many republicans are going to have a very, very difficult time after this bill passes.
they will have to deal with a lack of control over the world as it is starting to reshape itself.
those who feel most out of touch with the new order of things, will be the angriest.
change is coming,
and not the kind they want.
first, they had to contend with obama winning the presidency.
and now, the historical passage of health care reform.
the world as they wished it to be,
is changing.
i would not like to be a republican today.

Posted by: jkaren | March 21, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

"but not the sort of thing any of them will brag to their grandkids about." You obviously don't know Republicans.

Posted by: golewso | March 21, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

The Cornhusker Kickback wasn't "removed" as much as EXTENDED to all States.

Posted by: JakeD2 | March 21, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Watching the Republicans on C-SPAN is a lot like watching monkeys at the zoo fling feces. We might get a speck or two here and there, but they end up covered in it.

Finally, Stupak's 15 minutes is up. He can return the back benches now.

Posted by: jade_7243 | March 21, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Good thing, then, that EXTENDING it to all States is good policy.

Posted by: RyanD1 | March 21, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

its amazing to me that Ezra and others on here think that if in Republicans philsophy this bill is so absolutely wrong that they shouldn't do everything they can do to stop it.

If when the Republicans got into the majority again they were to try to put through privatization of SS would the Dems not do everything in their power and then some to stop them?

Don't act like the Dems are above this because they're not.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 21, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Ezra-will you please comment on D. Holtz-Eakins op-ed in the NYT on the CBO scoring?
Please and thank you --and thank you for all your blogging on this issue.

Posted by: espell | March 21, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Social Security privatization was so unpopular that Bush and his Congress couldn't even get it to a floor vote. The Dems didn't have to do anything.

Posted by: jnfr | March 21, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse


You think it is the Democrats fault that they've found a way to remove those bribes and deliver a clean bill without a single Republican?? Now you won't have that to gripe about?? Sucks to be you, huh?!

Posted by: MyrtleParker | March 21, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse


you're under the delusion that there is no bribes left?

Isn't the 12 year timeframe for biologics vs 5 or 7 years a bribe? Its an ENORMOUS bribe. It paid for much of the pro reform ads from Pharma. That one bribe will cost us hundreds of billions in the long run.

Doctors weren't paid off with the promise of a "doc fix?"

Insurers weren't paid off with a more limited MLR and the allowance to keep their anti-trust exemption? Amazing how that died down.

If you want to find the bribes, they're there. if you want to remain blind you'll remain blind.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 21, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

These healthcare dead enders like kenobli1 and msoja remind me of a conversation my father and I had with my uncle and cousin on a fishing trip one day. My uncle and cousin are both devout conservatives while my father and I are staunch independents.

Anyways, we were discussing taxes and my uncle and cousin were going on about how taxes were nothing short of theft. Theft of individual property perpetrated by the government under threat of loss of liberty. Well, we argued about that of course.

The funny part? My uncle worked for public road department for majority of his adult life. And my cousin was on disability. My father and I both worked in private sector. So here you had two guys living off the taxpayer dime decrying the entire concept of taxes and the two guys paying there living were arguing in favor of taxes. My uncle and cousin were *oblivious* to the irony. Even when it was explicitly pointed out.

I'll never forget that one. Somehow I think that is telling about the differences between conservatives and progressives.

Posted by: MyrtleParker | March 21, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the President that the Louisiana exemption should be nationwide, to help, as he said last THursday, the earthquake victims in Hawaii! (He was tired, and was probably referring to the new state of Haiti).

Posted by: truck1 | March 21, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse


I don't think the issue is that it's wrong on some basic level for the Republicans to oppose the bill using any means they can. The issue is that by just opposing the bill, instead of compromising, they've made the bill worse (according to their values). If they would have compromised, then many of the bribes/deals would never have made it into the Senate bill, and there'd be much stronger cost controls.

Republican opposition isn't immoral (except for the lying part), it's just counterproductive.

Posted by: etdean1 | March 21, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Klein is correct. Total obstinacy on the part of the GOP resulted in some of the unsavory shenanigans involved in getting the Senate deal done. And now they're blocking attempts to remove the slimy parts from the legislation???

As a centrist I might be more inclined to listen to the GOP if:
1) the legislation, for all its flaws, were NOT very close to stuff that Republicans have been advocating for years (see Nixon, Richard; Eisenhower, Dwight; and Dole, Robert). I think the liberal Dems have more to be upset about with this bill than the GOPers IN TERMS OF POLICY. Let's face it, the Repubs' beloved private health insurance companies are going to get rich, there isn't even a public option, let alone a single-payer plan;
2) there hadn't been near-total GOP complicity in perpetuating the "this is communism" lie (a LIE, not merely a distortion--I mean, really! Most people will STILL be buying health insurance from private companies--capitalism at its best!);
3) GOP leaders hadn't made a conscious decision, publicly declared and copiously documented, that obstruction was politically preferable over cooperation (with its attendant effect of actually having positive influence on the outcome (see McConnell, Mitch));
4) they hadn't offered specious arguments against virtually every kind of "progressive" legislation for the past century.

Our right-leaning friends love to remind us (constantly) that we are a "center-right" country. Too bad the GOP, which USED to own part of the center, is to be found nowhere near it anymore.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | March 21, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

More simply put, Repulicans voted against the Nelson deal before they voted for it.

Democrats should do their damndest to call out republicans on voting against the reconciliation fixes since it contains half of the issues they're crying out against!

Posted by: nomadwolf | March 21, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't Republican obstruction that caused the Nelson deal, it was the progressive leadership leaving the more moderate wings of the Democratic party out of leadership, out of the negotiations, and out to dry on a controversial bill.
Republicans called the Democrats' bluff that they had their party in order. Finally granting moderates a voice.

Posted by: cprferry | March 22, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

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