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Afghan Amnesty Deal Has Won Just 3% of Taliban

So much for Anbar Awakening II

(Newser) - It’s been a year since NATO launched the Afghan Peace and Reintegration Program, hoping to win over Taliban fighters in much the same way it won over Sunni fighters in Iraq. But so far, it ain’t going so well. Fewer than 800 insurgents have signed up—which is...

GOP Demands 'No Viagra for Sex Offenders'

Tom Coburn drops slew of amendments to derail health care bill

(Newser) - Suddenly, Republican Tom Coburn has a lot of ideas about health care, and he’s demanding Congress vote on all of them, in a last-ditch attempt to derail the reconciliation bill. Coburn has proposed a slate of hard-to-vote-against amendments; if any of them pass, the bill will have to go...

CBO Numbers 'Thoroughly Gamed' and Useless

The health bill is a fiscal time bomb, writes Megan McArdle

(Newser) - Under reconciliation rules, Democrats had to improve the budget numbers in the health care bill by $1 billion. Surprise, surprise: Today's CBO analysis shows "they improved it by exactly $1 billion," writes Megan McArdle. She sees it as further proof that "the CBO process has now been...

Reconciliation Bill Posted Online

House still on track for a Sunday vote

(Newser) - The last piece of the puzzle is in place for this weekend's vote on health care reform: The House Rules Committee has posted the reconciliation bill online. Politico has the pdf here . The House is on track for a final vote sometime Sunday afternoon, with Democrats "giddy" over today's...

GOP Savages Pelosi Strategy for Passing Health Reform

Critics say Democrats' tactic is unconstitutional

(Newser) - The GOP ratcheted up the already intense campaign against the Democrats' push to pass health care reform yesterday, targeting an obscure legislative move Nancy Pelosi said she might use to get a version of the Senate bill through the House. Outraged Minority Leader John Boehner called the "deem and...

Reconciliation Will Make Senate Less Human

Partisan reconciliation will turn Senate into House, predicts David Brooks

(Newser) - Using reconciliation to push health care through will turn the Senate into a crude, partisan arena much like the House, argues David Brooks. Once a place where alliances were formed between individual lawmakers, the Senate used to reflect the human sympathy seen in one-on-one relationships; a party-line vote will reduce...

Pelosi: Health Bill Horse Trading Is Over

Democratic leaders play hardball ahead of House vote

(Newser) - The store is closed for House Democrats looking for sweeteners to sway them into voting for the health bill, Nancy Pelosi warned yesterday. Pelosi stressed that she won't be making any changes to the final legislation for the sake of holdouts, meaning that there will be no more "Cornhusker...

Democrats: Health Vote Next Week

Pelosi 'delighted' Obama will be present for 'historic' passage

(Newser) - Democrats got ready for a health care rumble today, with Nancy Pelosi telling her troops to clear their schedules, be ready to stay in session, and expect a vote next week. Pelosi will move to pass the Senate's December bill as soon as Thursday or Friday, and though Politico...

GOP: Obama Must Sign Health Measure Before Reconciliation

And Senate's bill, which House Dems dislike

(Newser) - There looks to be a pretty substantial wrinkle in congressional Democrats’ plans to pass health-care reform via the simple-majority processes of reconciliation: President Obama would have to sign the Senate version of the bill into law before the House and Senate versions could be reconciled into one. That’s the...

Forget It, Dems: Obama's No LBJ

President doesn't have LBJ's deal-making skills

(Newser) - People are urging President Obama to start acting like Lyndon Johnson, but the president isn't going to suddenly turn into LBJ any more than the 2,000-page health care bill will turn into the 4-page Civil Rights Act LBJ muscled through as Senate majority leader in 1957, writes Daniel Henninger....

5 Words Obama Dodges in Health Care Debate

'Reconciliation,' 'mandate' missing from president's speeches

(Newser) - President Obama tends to use words in ways that contradict their meanings and then abandon them when people realize what he's really saying, writes former Bush speechwriter William McGurn, listing five words the president now avoids using unless he's forced to by reporters or Republicans.
  • Reconciliation: Obama calls for the

Forget Polls, Mr. President, Ram Through Health Bill

Obama needs to show leadership by using reconciliation

(Newser) - President Obama needs to show some leadership by making sure the health bill passes despite its unpopularity, writes Richard Cohen. Polls show support for reform is falling, but that's because its benefits are either not immediate nor easily communicated via TV newsbites, Cohen writes in the Washington Post . The bill...

Don't Lie, GOP: Dems Aren't Ramming Through Health Bill

'It's good to see Obama displaying LBJ's wiles'

(Newser) - The Republicans' claim that the Democrats are using reconciliation to ram through a health care bill is a flat-out lie at worst and stunning hypocrisy at best, writes E.J. Dionne Jr. The health-care bill has already passed the Senate with 60 votes, and the only thing that would pass...

Obama to Congress: Vote Health Care 'Up or Down'

Tells Senate to go for 'up or down vote'

(Newser) - Barack Obama gave Congress its marching orders today, telling them to hold a final vote on health care reform within the next few weeks. He essentially told the Senate to pass the bill via reconciliation, though he didn’t use the term, instead demanding an “up or down vote,...

Obama Will OK Use of Reconciliation on Health Bill

Wants GOP help but will do what's needed

(Newser) - President Obama will tell Democrats tomorrow to use reconciliation to get health-care reform passed if Senate Republicans won’t cooperate, White House sources tell ABC News tonight. That option would allow a previously passed bill to be “fixed” with 51 votes (which the Democrats have) and not a filibuster-proof...

Dems Can Pass Health Care Bill Alone: Obama Aide

Nancy-Ann DeParle says Dems will likely use reconciliation to pass bill

(Newser) - Democrats will have the votes to pass health care reform, but they’re probably going to use reconciliation to do it, Nancy-Ann DeParle said yesterday. Obama seems to be leaning toward asking the House to pass a version of the Senate bill, then have the Senate appease House Dems by...

Harry Reid to GOP: 'Stop Crying Over Reconciliation'

Won't rule out using legislative tactic for health reform

(Newser) - Harry Reid sounds less than sympathetic to Republican complaints that he's threatening to pass health-care reform through the process known as budget reconciliation. "They should stop crying about reconciliation as if it's never been done before," he said, adding that Republicans have been happy to use the tactic...

Karzai Seeks Saudi Help in Taliban Talks

Afghan president arrives in Riyadh

(Newser) - Hamid Karzai arrived in Riyadh today, hoping to secure Saudi Arabia’s help in peace negotiations with the Taliban. Karzai and his entourage will first make a pilgrimage to Mecca, then meet with King Abdullah tomorrow to discuss the reconciliation process. Abdullah has said his government won’t participate as...

Tyson, Holyfield Make Up

Boxers reconcile 12 years after bizarre championship bout

(Newser) - Evander Holyfield forgives Mike Tyson for biting his ear during their heavyweight title fight in 1997, he said during a joint appearance with his former opponent on today's Oprah Winfrey Show. The boxers—who knew each other as teens—shook hands, and Holyfield said the famous bite “wasn't really...

Yea or Nay, How Health Bill Hinges on Snowe's Vote

Either way, Maine Republican will likely preserve leverage going to the floor

(Newser) - The day is finally here: Olympia Snowe will have to vote one way or another on the Senate Finance Committee’s health reform bill. The Maine Republican has been coy—“It’s all about what I’m comfortable doing at the end of the day”—but that doesn’...

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