From Reuters, July 29, written by Jackie Frank.
House Democrats reach deal on healthcare bill | Reuters
WASHINGTON, July 29 (Reuters) - Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives have reached a deal with a group of fiscal conservatives in their own party on how to move forward with healthcare legislation, a leading lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Representative Mike Ross, who leads the so-called "Blue Dog" conservative coalition, said they had reached a deal with leadership after days of long negotiations.
CNN said that under the agreement, a healthcare bill would be moved to committee by Friday but that the full House would not take the issue up until September after it returns from its month-long break.
The prescient Prof's precis of the political possibilities of the plan proceeding forward:
1. Congratulations to the White House, its supporters, Ms Pelosi, and the leadership of the house.
2. Passage thru committee is nothing to get too excited about.
3. Three of the 7 bluedogs on Energy-Commerce did NOT sign on to the compromise.
4. That 4 dogs did ensures Plan Waxman thru committee and sets up a floor vote in late September or early October.
5. Assuming the 4 stay where they are til Friday, that is.
6. That approximately half of the dogs cannot support the bill even in committee signals a very difficult fight ahead.
7. Remember, cap and trade squeaked thru lower house by a margin of only 4, before it was shelved by Ms Boxer (Environment and Public Works) on the expensive blue carpet in upper parliament.
8. Ms Pelosi, therefore, is looking---as her best case scenario---at an extremely narrow win before her full assembly, something on the order of 220 to 210, barring any changes in this particular piece of law.
9. A bill this large and important (again, just like cap and trade), which so barely works its way thru lower house, generally has no chance in the upper.
10. Not only that, this is the wrong bill for the upper house. Kent Conrad (key democrat on Baucus' GATEWAY committee, Senate Finance) said 3 days ago that NO PURELY BLUE BILL has a chance in upper house. He's right. Whatever reform contemplated MUST (because of the precise composition of THIS senate) have significant red support to succeed.
11. This is why 2 days ago we all heard so much talk (mostly from John Kerry and Judd Gregg) about a far purpler bill which removed from the table all talk of a "government option."
12. Indeed, house bluedog Walt Minnick said as much yesterday. Waxman goes the wrong direction, he said, we need to work towards the way of Senate Finance.
13. Waxman still must be scored by CBO, which always means trouble.
14. According to CNN on air, the "mark up" of the bill broke down last nite, liberals and dogs unable to agree even on the details of the compromise that made all the headlines.
15. Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey, speaking on behalf of progressives yesterday afternoon, said she could not support the version which Mike Ross endorsed in the morning.
16. The bill which sneaked thru committee yesterday, while indicative of a pennyweight's progress, does not have enough broad support to give it the momentum it needs to win passage thru senate. It is also going the wrong direction for the upper house which, for good or bad, is going to demand a piece more centrist.
17. When social security and medicare passed in their time, they received extremely broad and solid bipartisan support. The dems are not going to be able to reform radically 16% of the national economy without significant red endorsement, which explains the particular lay of the senate.
18. The senate will require the SIXTY to break red filibuster over this. Unfortunately, there is no way the entire blue delegation of upper house, 100%, can back Waxman. It's frankly too expensive for the Conrads, Bayhs, Landrieu's, Blanche Lincolns, Ben Nelsons, Bill Nelsons, Byron Dorgans, Mark Pryors...
19. Add that all up and it certainly appears that the 4 dogs backed down in committee purely to give their party some relatively paltry political triumph, if only a headline. One can imagine what pressure they've been subjected to from the White House and Pelosi's leadership. Providing protection, ie, cover, for their expanding presidential problem is becoming an ever more pressing imperative for the party in power.