The week opened with bloggers critiquing the Democrats’ strategy to pass a health overhaul bill sometime this week.
Time’s Jay Newton-Small has a day-by-day time line to help track events.
The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn wonders, “What’s been taking so long?” According to Cohn, “The broad outlines of the eventual House-Senate compromise on health care reform have been clear for a while now. But nailing down the details isn’t easy, as the excerpt above suggests. And it’s particularly difficult because lawmakers don’t yet know what the Senate parliamentarian will rule outside the bounds of reconciliation. Throw in the need to get acceptable Congressional Budget Office estimates, and you can see why this process has taken as long as it has.”
The American Spectator’s Philip Klein writes, “Shortly before midnight on Sunday, Democrats released a 2,309 page health care bill that will start the process of reconciliation — but don’t let that fool you, it’s not the actual reconciliation bill with all the changes you’ve been reading about. Instead, as Rep. Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican member on the Budget Committee, explained to me last week, this is just the ’shell’ bill — the vehicle that Democrats need to get moving on health care.”
Although the action today was in the House Budget Committee, the National Journal Online’s Robert Costa says the House Rules Committee “is where the real reconciliation package will be hammered out, probably later this week.” Costa interviews the top Republican on the Rules Committee, Rep. David Dreier of California, who said, ” ‘Our committee’s meeting won’t be the fait accompli…The real fait accompli will be when the bill is scheduled for a vote on the floor. I’m convinced that [Democrats] will pretty much get it done if they can get it there. Having been in that position before, I’m sure they will roll the dice if they’re three or four votes short.’”
TPMDC’s Brian Beutler reports from a meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who said, “‘Time is important for us here, because this city is the city of the perishable and every special interest group out there who doesn’t want this to pass–including the entire Republican party–benefits from any delay,’ Pelosi told those in attendance. ‘Delay is our enemy.’”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein explains, “Pelosi doesn’t have votes for the Senate bill without the reconciliation package. But the Senate parliamentarian said that the Senate bill must be signed into law before the reconciliation package can be signed into law. That removed Pelosi’s favored option of passing the reconciliation fixes before passing the Senate bill. So now the House will vote on reconciliation explicitly and the Senate bill implicitly, which is politically easier, even though the effect is not any different than if Congress were to pass the Senate bill first and pass the reconciliation fixes after. This is all about plausible deniability for House members who don’t want to vote for the Senate bill, although I doubt many voters will find the denials plausible.”
And Hot Air’s Ed Morrissey reacts to news that the White House may change its stance on special deals for individual states in the reform bills, saying, “In case you want to play The Price is Right with Bob Baracker, here are the new rules. Single state deals are verboten, so no Cornhusker Kickback for you. If two states get together to demand special deals, well, come on down!”