Can We Call the Final Bill ‘Devastator’?
I have a piece on the home page today about the Obama administration’s attempt to pressure colleges and universities into complying with its student-loan takeover, even though the authorizing legislation is hung up in the Senate. Passage in the upper chamber is far from certain. In talking to Senate staffers and others who are watching the process, I learned something amazing:
The administration’s strong-arm tactics extend to the Senate, where its allies plan to abuse the budget-reconciliation process to pass the bill. (“That’s the only way it gets passed,” says a Senate GOP staffer, who points to opposition from Democrats Ben Nelson and Arlen Specter.) And because the Senate can consider only one reconciliation bill each year, we might see a scenario in which the Democrats try to combine the health-care bill with the education bill and pass the whole thing with 51 votes.
A massive overhaul of health care and a massive overhaul of higher education, jammed together and rammed through the Senate using an obscure procedural tactic — it’s a new era of transparency! Do you think they’ll try to staple on the cap-and-trade bill while they’re at it?
The Hill newspaper has more on this story, including pushback from centrist Democrats who are “blanching” at the idea.
(Devastator reference explained here.)