One chamber of Congress seems to be making progress. One isn’t.
The political will is there on one side of the Hill for comprehensive healthcare reform. Greg Sargent talks to Dem House whip James Clyburn:
"I feel certain that the House Democrats will pass health care reform if the fixes that we feel need to be made to the Senate bill are guaranteed," Clyburn said. Asked directly if the House votes would be there if this happened, Clyburn said: "Yes, sir."
Clyburn’s comments suggest that if Dem leaders figure out a way of demonstrating to House Democrats that the reconciliation fix is iron-clad, they could support the Senate bill in large enough numbers to pass.
Clyburn cautioned, however, that House Dems would have to be convinced of the veracity of the fix, citing the "natural distrust between the two bodies." He added that House Dems would want to see the fix address their opposition to the "Cadillac" tax, to state-based exchanges, and to various sweetheart deals for Senators.
Clyburn called on the President to use his clout and prestige to urge Congressional Dems to follow this course of action during tomorrow’s speech.
Meanwhile, the Senate Dems reportedly didn't talk about reform at their weekly luncheon today… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Alternet>
Senate Democrats didn’t even talk about it? The Nevada Leg Hound, Harry Reid, needs to pull his head out of his nether parts and get cracking! Perhaps he should change his name to Ulysses so we can call him Useless for short!!
Of course the DINOs are whining:
Two Democratic senators, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, have declared that they won't support a plan to have the House pass the Senate health care bill whole, then pass fixes to the bill through the reconciliation process.
A third, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, suggested lawmakers give up on the comprehensive health care bill entirely and pass reforms one by one.
"We need to focus on things where we have a consensus," Bayh said."Just ramming through a bill on a purely party-line vote on a strictly partisan basis will not do much to generate the kind of progress around here on other issues that we need."
Bayh also said he doesn't understand why the Senate dropped the version of the bill passed by the Finance Committee with one Republican vote. "Maybe we should take another look at that," he said. "If Sen. Snowe was willing to vote for it, perhaps there were other Republicans who were willing to."
Under reconciliation, legislation could pass with 50 votes (plus Vice President Biden as a tie-breaker), with no chance of a filibuster. So Democratic leadership could afford to lose a few votes and still be able to pass changes to the Senate bill… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <TPM>
Bayh has to be intentionally obtuse here. Let me clarify. He’s lying his head off. Before any Republican votes for passage of any of the versions of health care reform that have been on the table, I will be arrested for poop-bombing SCOTUS, while flying over DC under my own power. And Nelson has some nerve complaining about reconciliation. He had no problem with the use of reconciliation in 2001 when he voted for Potomac Pinocchio’s $1.3 trillion tax cuts for the rich!