Thursday, March 25, 2010

Patch Passes, Bicameral Distrust Remains

As expected, the Senate passed the patch.  House acts tonight, president signs it soon, and then health care reform is finally finished, at least this go-around.

Meanwhile, Ezra Klein tweets:

And the reconciliation fixes have passed the Senate. This should actually do a lot for relations between the two chambers.

And at almost the same second Marc Ambiner tweets:
Big political point today is that Senate Dems lived up to their promise to pass House reconciliation as is. Inter-chamber relations key.
My prediction?  Relations between the chambers will remain terrible.  There are two reasons why the House doesn't trust the Senate, rational and irrational.  The rational reasons have to do with structural differences between the houses, and nothing can make those go away.  Not just the filibuster, although that's a big part of it.  The irrational reasons develop over time, as individuals forget that they were let down by the other chamber for all sorts of understandable reasons, and come to think that the other house is duplicitous and untrustworthy, rather than just having different rules and incentives. 

The successful passage of one bill no matter how important will help reduce the irrational side, but do nothing about the rational basis for acrimony.   It's built-in.

(Bonus snark!  As I was writing this a friend -- longtime House staffer, long retired -- passed by my desk, and I told him what I was writing about.  His immediate response?  "Of course, because Senators are all running for president.  Pompous asses."  He wasn't joking, either.  As for how the Senate feels, I covered that last night).

While I'm at it, I think I owe a Plain Blog accounting.  I was right that reconciliation would sail through the Senate once the main bill was passed and signed into law, but I was wrong on the voting...I set the line at 58 and took the over, but Lincoln, Pryor, and Ben Nelson all voted against it, so that's just 56.  I did withdraw my "bet" after the student loan package was added to the bill, but it's still a weak call on my part -- although overall, it did sail through as I've been saying since January.


  1. Come on. You missed on the reconciliation vote because you thought a Republican or two would get behind a set of popular fixes. No other way to take the over on 58. Unless you think the student loan thing was enough to drive those Reps away (very dubious, I'd say), then your basic logic that some Reps would see political advantage in voting against the Cornhusker Kickback rather than maintaining a united front was wrong.

  2. Well, I thought that it was very possible that it would go that way. I do, however, think that student loans helped seal a unified GOP, and at any rate I said that when it happened. The original 58 was based on all Dems staying together except the Benator, and I figured Nelson was more likely than not, that no one else was likely to switch, and that Snowe and maybe another or two might switch. Still, I said I was guilty of a "weak call" above, so I'm not trying to weasel out of it.


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