Obamacare by Christmas?

November 5th, 2009 at 1:47 pm | 5 Comments |

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With so much going on politically in the past few days, a quick comment by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has escaped much scrutiny.

Senator Reid, for those who missed it, suggested on Tuesday that the Senate may not pass health-care legislation this year. “We’re not going to be bound by any timelines,” he stated. “We’re going to do this legislation as expeditiously as we can, but we’re going to do it as fairly as we can.”

It’s a small comment, one made perhaps without much thought.  Just a couple of hours later, his office sought to clarify his statement (that is, to distance Senator Reid from, well, Senator Reid), insisting that they are on their timeline.

Except, of course, everyone knows that they aren’t.  The final Senate draft hasn’t even been inked yet.  There is much time left on the clock to finish things up by the end of the year, but the process is dragging out.  Remember the August recess deadline?  The we’ll-vote-in-September goal?  Or the pre-turkey November vote?

And if the Senate can’t pass legislation before Christmas – as now even Senator Reid is speculating on – it seems unlikely that the sort of sweeping reforms touted by the White House will pass in an election year.

On Saturday, the House will vote on its version of the health-care bill; all eyes are on the Senate.  Senator Reid has five votes to clear.  (For a readable summary of the necessary votes, see here.)  And those are big votes.  Post-Virginia and New Jersey, he’ll need to marshal the support of senators like Mary Landrieu, up for re-election in just 12 months and facing a fight, and already skeptical.

The House bill does nothing to address the harshest attacks of critics.  Senator Reid’s musings to date suggest that he isn’t in a highly conciliatory mood either.  These guys are bold and aggressive.

Mind you, so was Governor Corzine.

This isn’t over just yet.

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5 Comments so far ↓

  • ProfNickD

    I don’t see how the House will vote on Saturday — the Democratic members haven’t even been “whipped” by Clyburn yet. Hoyer admitted yesterday he didn’t have a final vote count and today admits it will be close. It seems inconceivable that Pelosi would allow a vote not knowing for sure how it will turn out.

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jlMpJGn28kqCcgU-aGcYE_ZHW-ywD9BPGT300

  • ottovbvs

    1 ProfNickD // Nov 5, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    …..No the house is definitely not going to pass this bill…….ever!…….She actually has two more votes this Saturday that she didn’t have last Saturday……as for the senate……get real…….he’ll ultimately use recon if has to……..

  • jabbermule

    It would be a big mistake for Harry to use recon on this bill…it will set a bad precedent and when Repubs regain control of the Senate, what’s to stop them from doing the same?

  • Raider1

    If the dems care about their political futures, they’ll reconsider passing this bill…especially given the message of the VA and NJ races just concluded.

  • rbottoms

    Tancredo in the hizzy.

    A few minutes ago on The Ed Show, Tom Tancredo tried to make the case against government health care by claiming that the Veterans Administration is unpopular with U.S. military veterans. The only problem for him was that he was up against Markos…who is one of those veterans, unlike Tancredo, a pro-Vietnam War chickenhawk who got a 1-Y deferment.

    When Markos pointed out that Tancredo was (a) wrong about the Veterans Administration and (b) not qualified to speak for veterans, Tancredo exploded in anger, demanding an apology. Markos did not oblige, and Tancredo stormed off the set.

    Oh, I bet you didn’t know Kos is a Vet. We do so love being lectured by Chickenhawks.