Thursday 12 November 2009

White House preparing for reconciliation option

After the CBO scores the Reid bill, it could hit the Senate floor next week. Clinton told the caucus of Democratic Senators – you’re going to do it, pass the bill – but Lieberman, absurdly, claims that because Clinton didn’t specifically browbeat Democratic Senators to support the public option, he was really telling them to drop it. Nelson wants the bill to have a positive vote of support not only from the CBO but also from Snowe; Landrieu wants the same things (although she admits that the bill has improved). Bayh is still wimwamming about the medical device makers; Conrad hasn’t criticized the Reid bill but won’t commit to it either.

With all this howling by the Blue Dogs, Gibbs at the White House is openly threatening the use of the reconciliation option, which would make all the Blue Dogs instantly irrelevant – he said they would use that option if they weren’t making progress the other way.

Also, Obama and a lot of House Democrats want the Stupak amendment out. Since it is not in the Reid bill, it would take 60 votes to put it in, which it won’t get.

And a classic from Driftglass – “Lindsey Graham has warned the public option will destroy private insurance. Just as public parks and gyms have destroyed for-profit fitness clubs, public beaches have destroyed private seaside resorts, public transit has destroyed the car, Segue, motorcycle, bike and scooter industries, public libraries have driven Amazon into bankruptcy, taxpayer-funded police departments have wiped out the market for private security firms, the US Armed Forces have put Blackwater out of business, community colleges have killed the Ivy League, public playgrounds have destroyed private sports franchises, public washrooms have people turning their bathrooms into extra closet space, public housing has destroyed the housing market, public drinking fountains have crushed Evian and Ice Mountain.”

With Republicans stonewalling health reform on all fronts, and doing all they can to ensure that Congress passes a bad bill that hurts as many people as possible, and indulging in mindless obstruction on judicial appointments, and on ambassadors, and on the health officials we need to fight the swine flu, and on unemployment benefits so people can eat over the holidays, and on veterans benefits, and staging a walkout of the climate change deliberations – the Democrats are talking more openly about hardball. In addition to the reconciliation option in the health care battle, they also plan to tack the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell onto the next defense authorization, which is the gambit they just used to pass the hate crimes legislation. And they will be looking for more things Obama can do without having to suck up to the Senate obstructionists.

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