After a marathon session in the Senate where amendment after amendment was offered by the Republicans and vote after vote shot them down, it appears that the reconciliation package will head back to the House after a small tweak to the student loan provisions.
In inimitable fashion, the New York Times is playing this as a big win for the GOP, MSNBC has sent two news alerts to my iPhone about it, and Twitter has lit up with the concern of many who are anxiously watching the final chapter of the health care reform saga.
Then there are those hopefuls who figure striking 16 lines of language relating to Pell grants will be a swinging open door for re-introduction of the public option.
Here's my prediction. They'll amend the bill to remove the 16 lines of Byrd rule violations. They'll vote the rest of the GOP amendments down. They'll have a vote sometime today on the reconciliation package and send it back to the House. The House will then vote on Monday for the revised package, which contains non-controversial provisions.
Why wouldn't the Senate add a public option provision since they have to send it to the House anyway? Because it's doubtful they'd get the requisite number of House votes, given an escalation in rhetoric to threat level red. Let's face it: would YOU invite more controversy in the toxic wasteland that is Washington, DC today?
Republicans will still play the Sunday shows like they won something huge, and the threat level will rise because the wingers are too stupid to actually figure out the reconciliation package has nothing in it relating to abortion, death panels, or socialism. It will be noisy, and get noisier, but in the end...it's a blip. Health care reform is the law of the land. This is just a tweaker package, not a big deal at all. A one-day delay in sending to the President, but still, a blip.
It was entertaining to watch the parade of stupid on CSPAN, though. As the night wore on, the Republicans got a little more shrill and a lot more stupid. Gotta love marathon voting sessions, especially ones where the Democrats actually show some backbone for a change.