Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Minority rights?

House and Senate Democrats intend to bypass normal procedures when they negotiate a final compromise on health-care legislation, officials said Monday.

The move will exclude Republican lawmakers and reduce their ability to delay or force politically troubling votes in both houses.

. . . Democratic aides said the final compromise talks would essentially be a three-way negotiation involving top Democrats in the House and Senate and the White House, a structure that gives unusual latitude to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

These officials said there are no plans to appoint a formal House-Senate conference committee, the method Congress most often uses to reconcile differing bills. Under that customary format, a committee chairman is appointed to preside, and other senior lawmakers from both parties and houses participate in typically perfunctory public meetings while the meaningful negotiations occur behind closed doors.

In this case, the plan is to skip the formal meetings, reach an agreement, then have the two houses vote as quickly as possible. A 60-vote Senate majority would be required in advance of final passage.

Congressional Democrats continue to breach usual custom and procedure in their haste to rush through their legislative agenda.

In doing so, Democrats are trampling on minority rights, as if Democrats will always be the majority party in control of both houses.

This is a stupid strategy.

Democrats won't always be in control. One day, Republicans will be back in the majority. And, then, there will be payback like we've never seen before.

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