Archive for July 23rd, 2009

“The Finance Committee keeps dragging their feet and dragging their feet and dragging their feet,” says Iowa Senator Tom Harkin.

“It is a really, really bad way to try and develop support and ideas,” says WV Senator Jay Rockefeller.
—–
by JC

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid postponed a vote on health care in the Senate today, and Iowa Senator Tom Harkin laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of Baucus and the Finance Committe.

The process will be difficult since Finance, led by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., is seeking a bipartisan deal… Reid said the decision to delay a vote was made Wednesday night in the hopes of getting a final bill that can win at least 60 votes in the Senate… Reid said he had listened to the requests from senior Republicans working with Baucus to allow more time for a compromise to emerge.

I guess it’s more important for Baucus to get to “Camp Baucus” and hob nob with his contributors–which most likely be heavily skewed towards health industry lobbyists–than it is to hew to the timeline Obama had laid out to get the Senate vote on the merged health bills before the Senate August break.

Senator Jay Rockefeller said on being shut out of Baucus’ process:

And in the Senate, Finance Committee members shut out of bipartisan talks warned Chairman Max Baucus that their votes could not be taken for granted as he works toward a deal with Republicans.

“Don’t think we are so desperate, we are not going to fall into line,” Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) said, describing the message Democrats delivered to Baucus. “I’m not allowed into the meetings, the real meetings they have, what they call the coalition of the willing. It is a really, really bad way to try and develop support and ideas.

Reid and Baucus’ caving in to republican and conservative democrats’ demands that the process be slowed is going to result in a really ugly month of disinformation and rightwing ideological flak being spewed out. This process is going to get so rancid, that hopes of holding on to a good bill with a strong public option have been greatly diminished “in hopes of getting it right.”

Well, if not now, then when? The Senate has had 15 years since Clinton’s health care reform bill went up in smoke. And republicans have repeatedly stated that their intent is the same this time around, to kill reform as a political victory against Obama.

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