I don’t know all the “inside baseball” ramifications of this, but on its face, I like it.
The Speaker recently assured her freshman lawmakers and other vulnerable members of her caucus that a vote on immigration reform is not looming despite a renewed push from the White House and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The House will not move on the issue until the upper chamber passes a bill, Pelosi told the members.
But according to Democrats who have spoken to Pelosi, the Speaker has expanded that promise beyond immigration, informing Democratic lawmakers that the Senate will have to move first on a host of controversial issues before she brings them to the House floor.
“The Speaker has told members in meetings that we’ve done our jobs,” a Democratic leadership aide said. “And that next year the Senate’s going to have to prove what it can accomplish before we go sticking our necks out any further.”
I take it Pelosi is tired of delivering a bill more than liked by progressives just to be filtered, distilled and diluted by Committee Chairs like Max Baucus to benefit those people in one of the least populous states in the United States. I am sure Clyburn is not happy to whip up the votes to pass every bill he is asked to deliver, in time to get pat on the back from President Obama just to have Durbin fall short in the Senate. I am definitely sure Weiner doesn’t enjoy Rockefeller, Schumer, Wyden being replaced in health care negotiations with dishonest brokers Snowe, Collins, Grassley, Enzi and Lieberman who demand compromises they will never support. I am also sure the majority of house democrats don’t like horse trading with blue dogs to get Obama’s cost bending, Public Option bill passed just to find out it isn’t the Public Option or cost bending that is desired, but not required by the President right now.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), among the most vocal supporters of the public option, said it would be unfair to blame Lieberman for its apparent demise. Feingold said that responsibility ultimately rests with President Barack Obama and he could have insisted on a higher standard for the legislation.
No, sorry Feingold, the campaign and the speech before joint session of congress laid out the real goals and requirements. After both support for health care reform with a public option increased. Congressman Anthony Weiner was hitting talk shows like a mad man, Democratic senators involved in health care reform were almost no where to be found. Instead of focusing on the millions of under-insured or those bankrupted by insurance fine print, they focused on the uninsured (a public relations loser). Yes, senate PR and strategy (internal and external) are what I am mad about. Climate Change, Gitmo, 9/11/Gitmo trials and Health Care: Republicans got out front and manufactured scandals and spectacles at every turn to push Democratic message off the media radar and spook blue dogs. Pelosi and Clyburn run a tight ship, Reid and Durbin don’t. I am pretty sure Obama knows this and this is why the pressure is just to get a deal done. The White House knows Reid has been beaten. Obama wanted a public option, but he isn’t a senator anymore. Which is good, because under Reid he wouldn’t have any power anyway.
This bill will fall short of what I can imagine, but its a foot in the door. Its time for democratic senators to start kicking a bit harder to improve upon this after (hopefully) it passes.