Thursday 5 November 2009

Progress with the Blue Dogs

The only remaining possibilities for a Democratic filibuster vote are Lieberman, Landrieu, Lincoln and Nelson; hopefully none of them want to kill an effort that is popular (to include their constituents who hate insurers) and took months to set up.

Landrieu is saying the public option is “100 percent better” than when it began; actually she is bragging that her fellow Blue Dogs removed nasty provisions which were never in the bill in the first place. Whatever… She doesn’t want to simply do nothing, she likes the notion of a well-crafted trigger, and she wants to protect small businesses; she still hasn’t committed to supporting the bill, but it sounds like we might get her to block the filibuster. Florida Democrats goaded her along a bit, cancelling their invitation to let her speak at a local fundraiser because she is blocking health reform. Ouch!

Nelson also is selling the trigger idea, and wants the anti-trust exemption put back in. Lieberman doesn’t care if Democrats are hurt by a health reform collapse in 2010 because, let’s all remember, he’s not a Democrat, but Dean is turning up the heat on him, saying he has no right to filibuster, implying that his position in the caucus is on the line (possibly Reid delivered the same message). Bayh seems to be straightened out on the filibuster issue but he will push to protect medical device makers.

Right now, Nelson and Lincoln are the ones to watch. Lincoln just recently had a dinner with Obama.

By the way, girls, the one Democrat who ran on a platform of opposition to health reform: Creigh Deeds. You remember him, just lost by about 20 points?

Meanwhile the House Democrats could vote on their bill as soon as Saturday at 6pm. Boehner tried to gum up the works with a GOP “bill” which was so bad that even members of his own caucus slammed it for not solving the problem of preexisting conditions, and for only covering less than ten percent of the uninsured. Whereupon Boehner sheepishly said, um, that wasn’t the real bill, that’s just a draft that got leaked.

If this thing isn’t finished by the end of the year, they could shoot for getting it through all the major hurdles by the State of the Union.

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