Photoshop: Leo Alberti
The hearing is just underway. I’ll blog the shell game. Stay tuned for updates…
3:13pm Eastern. Democrat Rep./House Budget Cmte Chairman John Pratt opens up the hearing. Says they will be there until midnight to finish the mark-up or “turn into pumpkins.” If only…
He admits the shell game: Whatever they end up with today will look “far different” from the final product. The “final text of the reconciliation bill” is not before us.
Yup, that’s for the backroom deals.
Pratt touting the student loan nationalization wrap-around.
3:19pm Eastern. GOP Rep. Paul Ryan refutes “reconcilation is common” canard.
“This is an extraordinary and unprecendented abuse of the reconciliation process.” More: “NEVER been used to seize 1/6 of the U.S. economy.”
“The only bipartisanship in this procedure is in the opposition to it…never before has process been so grossly exploited.”
Ryan blasts Pelosi statement that “We have to pass the bill to let Americans see what’s in it.”
“This is the vaunted transparency that the president promised? Arrogance…is breathtaking. This is not a simple fixer bill, either.”
“We are here because of one man, Scott Brown. You can’t pass this bill the right way, so you’re passing it the Washington way.”
“We are not governing here today, we are greasing the skids…”
“This legislation is not about health care, it’s about ideology.” About moving to European-style, government-run system.
“This charade — both today’s blind mark-up and the charade of the last year — are so dispiriting” because we agree on need for real reform…It didn’t have to be this way and it doesn’t have to stay this way.
“This abuse of the process, this abuse of the constitution…are not worthy of your support.”
Excellent, impassioned, logical, reality-based statement from GOP Rep. Ryan. More, please.
3:31pm Eastern. Committee casts 21-16 vote – reported to the House without recommendation. Two Democrats voted no — FL Dem. Rep Allen Boyd (also voted against student loan nationalization plan) and Texas Dem. Rep. Chet Edwards.
The panel is moving on to debating motions to instruct.
Uh-oh. Philip Klein notes that Arkansas Democrat Rep. Marion Berry, “who supported Stupak and is on the Hill’s list of likely nos, voted for the reconciliation bill in budget committee.”
3:57pm Eastern. GOP Rep. Connie Mack’s motion limiting powers of government comparative research committee fails, 14-23.
GOP Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart: This bill is a “wet, smelly dog” that the American people don’t want.
4:23pm Eastern. GOP Rep. Cynthia Lummis: “We can’t afford entitlements we already have, let alone a trillion-dollar new one.” Blasts past Republican failures to rein in entitlements, urges colleagues not to make the problem even worse.
6:07pm Eastern. Every Democrat has an anecdote. Republicans need to answer every one of their stories with a socialized medicine horror story.
Also: Dems are now coopting the “if it’s good enough for you, why don’t members of Congress live under it” refrain. They’ve turned the message on its head. Bizarro world.