Why? Because we need to get this done soon, and the only way to do so is for the Senate to agree to the reconciliation bill that the House sends over (after passing the Senate-passed health care bill) to the Senate without amendment. Here, I'll let the Senator explain, despite Roll Call's patently ridiculous headline:
Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) acknowledged Wednesday that liberals may be asked to oppose any amendment, including one creating a public option, to ensure a smooth ride for the bill. “We have to tell people, ‘You just have to swallow hard’ and say that putting an amendment on this is either going to stop it or slow it down, and we just can’t let it happen,” Durbin, who supports a public option, told reporters. “We have to move this forward. We know the Republicans are likely to offer a lot of amendments, and some of them may be appealing to Democrats, but we have to urge them to stick with the bill.”Republicans are planning to derail the process by offering an unlimited amount of amendments. And any amendment that the House's version of reconciliation will set up another round of back and forth between the House and the Senate. This will delay health reform - and may kill the entire reconciliation process - and then all of us will be stuck with the Senate bill. If the House reconciliation bill does not include a public option - and all indications are that it will not - then adding it in the Senate will simply reduce the chances of a reconciliation fix passing at all. That means all amendments to that House reconciliation bill offered in the Senate need to be killed. Conservative ones and liberal ones. For the sake of finality to the process.
That, really, is all Dick Durbin is saying. The Huffington Post reports, hot off the press:
Sen. Dick Durbin, the Democrat in charge of rounding up votes for the health care reconciliation bill, said on Thursday that he will whip support for whatever package comes through the House. With 50 Democratic votes, Vice President Joe Biden could then break the tie and send the bill directly to the White House. If any amendments are adopted, it slows the process down by requiring the House to vote once again.Not convinced? Here it is again:
Durbin was asked by HuffPost if he would whip a reconciliation package from the House that included a public option...Once again - all Durbin is saying, in his position as the Senate majority whip, is that the Senate will need to pass the House's version of reconciliation, as is, without any amendments, and send it to the President for his signature, otherwise, the entire process stands a chance of going into a loop of amendments by both houses, and eventually ending up nowhere. This process has to end somewhere. And this is it. It ends here with Speaker Pelosi in charge of what the reconciliation package will look like, not Dick Durbin.
Durbin, in response to the question, said at first that it was hypothetical, but then answered, "I think there will come a time when we reach agreement on what the reconciliation package includes, with the understanding that any changes in the House or Senate could slow down or stop the process."
So whatever comes from the House, that's what you will whip?
"That's basically it," he said.
You know what's funny, though? Adam Green even responded to what Durbin said.
"Dick Durbin just offered Nancy Pelosi a rubber stamp, something that will never happen again -- especially in a 50-vote reconciliation environment," said Adam Green, when told of Durbin's remark.So Adam Green thinks Drubin is offering the Speaker a rubber stamp, but does he take his anti-Durbin petition down and go after the House instead? Nope. Last I checked, it's still there. What the hell is going on here?
Dick Durbin has done more for the progressive movement and liberal causes that Adam Green ever can imagine doing - especially by PCCC's constant bashing and bludgeoning of good, solid Democrats. Dick Durbin has done better than to deserve this from a self-crowned "progressive" champion:
Update II: Got an email from Ryan Grim saying the Huffpo article didn't mean to imply that Adam Green thought it was a "positive sign" that Durbin is turning final reconciliation bill form to Pelosi. Ok... his quote still speaks for itself I guess.