Diary

"...a slap in the face to those of us who worked so strongly with our friends on the other side."

This snippet pretty well lays out “The Problem” that those of us who believe in Conservative Values and Conservative Governance face all the time, but ESPECIALLY in the current Congress.

The author? None other than that “reliable conservative” Orrin Hatch (S-UT). And, in case you’re wondering, the “S” is indeed for “Stupid” Party.

You’d think that a guy who’s been a Republican in the US Senate since God wore knickers would know better. How many times do these idiots (“Stupids”?) have to get sold down the river before they figure out they don’t have any friends on the other side of the aisle?

As it happens, this time it relates to SCHIP

The Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation yesterday to provide health insurance to 11 million low-income children, a bill that would for the first time spend federal money to cover children and pregnant women who are legal immigrants.

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is aimed at families earning too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to afford private insurance, currently covers close to 7 million youngsters at a cost of $25 billion.

Lawmakers voted 66 to 32, largely along party lines, to renew the joint state-federal program and spend an additional $32.8 billion to expand coverage to 4 million more children. The expansion would be paid for by raising the cigarette tax from 39 cents a pack to $1.

The House approved similar legislation on Jan. 14, and President Obama is expected to sign a final version as early as next week.

During the presidential campaign, Obama pledged to provide coverage to every American child. Experts estimate that once the program is fully implemented about 5 million youngsters will remain uninsured.

[…]

Democratic lawmakers, noting that President George W. Bush twice vetoed similar legislation, praised the vote as evidence of the changing Washington landscape.

[…]

But the political victory may come at a price. The rancorous debate — on a program that once basked in bipartisan popularity — raised doubts about whether the two parties can unite to pass broader health reform later this year, several moderate Republicans said.

“This is a very unfortunate beginning,” said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa). The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, a stalwart supporter of the program, said he was “disgusted” by the way Democratic leaders handled the debate. “It does not bode well for cooperative work in the coming months,” he said. But Grassley emphasized that he did not blame Baucus for the change in substance and style.

As the vote came just one day after the House passed an $819 billion economic stimulus package without a single Republican vote, some longtime lawmakers questioned the president’s ability to forge a new era of cooperation in the capital.

“If they wanted a nice signing ceremony that showed bipartisanship and carried through on the president’s language, this would have been a good vehicle to do it on,” said Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.).

[…]

In 2007, prominent Republicans such as Grassley and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) bucked Bush to support renewal of the program.

“We carried a lot of water and took a lot of flak” for that stand, Hatch said. To push through a different version now is “not only unfair,” he said, “but a slap in the face to those of us who worked so strongly with our friends on the other side.”

The bill approved last night closely resembles the versions many Republicans supported in the past, countered Democrats.

GOP lawmakers objected to the new provision allowing states to enroll certain legal immigrants. Until now, many immigrants’ families have been forced to wait five years for coverage.

“The bottom line is: This is a debate about children’s health coverage,” said Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.). “This is not a debate about immigration.”

In more than two days of debate — in unusually personal and emotional language — Republicans expressed a sense of betrayal that Democrats had dropped the 2007 compromise.

“We could have had 95 votes,” Hatch said. “That would have sent a tremendous, tremendous message that hasn’t been sent around here for a long time.”

OK folks, you got that? We’ve got an expansion of health care benefits that President Bush actually manned-up and vetoed twice that the Senate Republicans can’t wait to vote for. Really Senator Gregg, a 95 vote total? I’ll give you credit for one thing Senator, it certainly would have sent a message. As a matter of fact, your statement does send a message. It sends a strong message to the Conservative base of the Party:

HEY CONSERVATIVES: STUFF IT. WE’RE GONNA LOOK JUST LIKE DEMOCRATS. GET OVER IT.

Talk about herding cats.  We should be so lucky.  The Senate Republicans are lemmings.