Saturday 19 September 2009

Baucus no longer has the votes in committee

Based on the amendments which Senate Finance Committee members have proposed for the Baucus health reform bill, three Democratic Senators are just not going to support the current Baucus bill. Rockefeller wants the House version of the public option, while Schumer and Cantwell want the HELP committee version of the public option.

Meanwhile Menendez and Stabenow want to lower premiums; Wyden wants to expand eligibility for subsidies and for the exchanges – they could possibly sign off on an amended Baucus bill, but only if Baucus is willing to move the bill back to the left and ignore the GOP complaints (and Snowe’s rejection of the bill).

The Republican amendments, meanwhile, are either idiotic or deliberately obstructive or both: amendments about killing both the public option and coops, about sexual abstinence, about abortion, about blocking a non-existent government takeover, about aliens, about czars, about ACORN. Morons.

With Rocky, Schumer and Cantwell supporting the public option (and Kerry possibly following suit), Baucus no longer has the votes to pass his current bill in committee. Some Democrats are undoubtedly pressuring Rocky and the gang to let Baucus pass his bill and then hope that it gets fixed on the Senate floor or in the conference report, but I believe (and hope) that Rocky would rather kill the Baucus plan now, dead dead dead, than trust people outside their control to do it for them later on.

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