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July 31, 2009

Senate Misses Healthcare Deadline; House Committee Still Working; Dems Plot Recess Offensive

The President hasn't shown much interest in the details of healthcare reform and has left it up to Congress to arrange the final program. He just wants to sign his name to any law with "Health" in the title and call it a legacy. So it's no surprise that Congress has tied itself in knots trying to come to a solution without any leadership at all from the White House.

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf was there last night when the Senate officially blew past yet another deadline for action. Senator Baucus declared that his committee would not, could not pass a bill before the Senate leaves for August recess next Friday.

"The bill is not ready for prime time," Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said. (When did Mike Enzi become one of the most quoted and quotable Senators?)

“You folks keep looking for the news and there ain’t no news,” said Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, Baucus’s primary Republican counterpart.

This is a big deal. When Congress missed President Obama’s August deadline for passing bills out of the House and Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed to at least get the bill out of the Finance Committee to set up a Senate vote in early September.

Not going to happen.

Do I mind? Not. One. Bit. I just like to emphasize what a failure the President is.

Meanwhile, the House Energy & Commerce Committee is still trying to finish markup on their version (the third in the House) by the end of the day. That version will have to be reconciled with the versions that came out of Ways and Means and the Education and Labor Committee. Fighting between the Blue Dogs and the Progressive Caucus has left me with indiscreet glee and popcorn breath.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are now threatening to press forward on a party-line vote, which to me is a "Big Duh" moment. He's got the numbers. As much as Democrats would like to cast Republicans as the obstacle to all their single-payer wetdreams, they could just ignore us. But Reid's problem is that the Far Left sees this as their moment in the sun and they are overreaching. The Blue Dogs--many of whom were elected in red districts--see their reelection chances sinking under the weight of the enormous burden the Far Left wants to place on taxpayers.

The clever solution? Find a new villain.

“Our message is simple. It is now being echoed by the White House,” said the memo sent to all Democratic members. “And it counters the Republican ‘government takeover’ message.”

The message in the memo, though, won't fit on a bumper sticker:

“Remove the insurance companies from between you and your doctor— capping what they can force you to pay in out of pocket expenses, co-pays and deductibles, and giving you the peace of mind you will be covered for the care you need, if get sick, or if you change or lose your job.”

No shit that won't fit on a bumpersticker. San Fran Nan should try these: "Nothing says quality service like government bureaucrats!" Or "Hey, let's not put insurance companies between you and your doctor, let's put a government committee!" Okay, that was a little long too.

What do you got?


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 12:02 PM

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