Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall is apparently content with what you have to pay at the pharmacy for your medicine. Yesterday, Udall voted 'no' to include the re-importation of drugs in the health insurance reform legislation.
If there is a backroom deal between President Obama and Big Pharma that Udall is supporting, well, that's the kind of government most of us are sick of in this country. Or else, Mark Udall gets lots of campaign contributions for the pharmaceutical industry, or he thinks you aren't paying enough for your medicine.
What is even more disgusting about this development is that the amendment to let less expensive drugs be imported into the country actually passed, 51 - 48. However, because of the filibuster rule, the will of the majority means nothing in our allegedly great democratic, deliberative body.
The United States Senate is a dysfunctional organization.
In a republic, we elect people to legislatures to make laws for us. In the republic of the United States we also believe in the notion that the majority rules ... with proper respect for the rights of the minority.
Once upon a time the 'filibuster' idea was that in the 'deliberative' legislative body of the U.S. Senate, the minority could slow down action causing more time for, well, deliberation ... and persuasion (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington).
Only in recent times has the filibuster morphed into a tactic creating a 'tyranny of the minority' -- both Democrats and Republicans are responsible for this perversion of the original idea.
The current health insurance reform effort accompanied by the radical Republican's calculated political ploy to become totally obstructionist in the federal legislature has highlighted how the filibuster has become an anti-republican, anti-democratic tool. The present use of the filibuster has made the U.S. Senate a dysfunctional body and by extension the whole legislative process as envisioned in the Constitution.
This needs to end. Unfortunately, the feckless Dimocrat Senate leadership is worried about being in the minority again (we can guarantee that if they don't change course now) and want to preserve the perverse filibuster tactic for their own future use.
But we think most Americans understand and support the concept of majority rule and the notion that at least 51 votes out of a hundred is a win.
Under the current circumstances we should call the parliamentary maneuver to change the Senate rules and end the present filibuster regulation "The Lieberman Option," since it is his arrogance and conceit that is precipitating this legislative crisis.
After the filibuster is killed, in short order a genuine, true health insurance reform bill could be passed by majorities in both houses of Congress and the will of the people as expressed in the last election could be fulfilled.
If this doesn't happen then President Obama and the Dimocrat Congress and Dimocrats in state and local offices can watch their 2008 'mandate' collapse.
And, the entire nation may very well witness citizen cynicism and disgust envelop our governmental and political system ... and who knows what will be the consequences of that sad development.
From Wikipedia (Nuclear Option):
The nuclear option is used in response to a filibuster or other dilatory tactic. A senator makes a point of order calling for an immediate vote on the measure before the body, outlining what circumstances allow for this. The presiding officer of the Senate, usually the vice president of the United States or the president pro tempore, makes a parliamentary ruling upholding the senator's point of order. The Constitution is cited at this point, since otherwise the presiding officer is bound by precedent. A supporter of the filibuster may challenge the ruling by asking, "Is the decision of the Chair to stand as the judgment of the Senate?" This is referred to as "appealing from the Chair." An opponent of the filibuster will then move to table the appeal. As tabling is non-debatable, a vote is held immediately. A simple majority decides the issue. If the appeal is successfully tabled, then the presiding officer's ruling that the filibuster is unconstitutional is thereby upheld. Thus a simple majority is able to cut off debate, and the Senate moves to a vote on the substantive issue under consideration. The effect of the nuclear option is not limited to the single question under consideration, as it would be in a cloture vote. Rather, the nuclear option effects a change in the operational rules of the Senate, so that the filibuster or dilatory tactic would thereafter be barred by the new precedent.
So-called "reconciliation", another Senate parliamentary tactic is hardly a viable alternative to passing health insurance reform: it is too restrictive (limited to budget issues) and it's a one shot deal. After 'reconciliation' the Senate is right back with an obstructive radical Republican Senate minority and Lieberman/Nelson/Lincoln available to block any other legislation.
What is somewhat sobering about this development is realizing how quickly the Dimocrats have squandered their control of Congress; they have actually significant majorities in both houses. Yet they will now be perceived as incompetent, unprincipled, easily bullied and corrupt (health insurance campaign contributions).
Here is our prediction: the Senate Dimocrats will not exercise the "Libererman Option." The Senate Dimocrat leadership is too 'dainty' to be audacious enough to use the power the Constitution gives them as a majority.
It is amazing ... the Dimocrats just never seem to come to the comprehension that by NOT EVER being bold and daring, they demonstrate repeatedly to the American people that they really are not tough enough nor principled enough to be given the privilege of governing this nation for very long (since the 1980s anyway). Sometimes, even if you don't win, it is important to display strength of character by taking risks, by being innovative, by being gutsy -- Dimocrats don't seem to be capable of doing this. It means that their regaining of federal power since 2006 will probably be brief.