Friday, January 22, 2010

Not Our Problem

The Senate, having passed the healthcare bill, is not interested in the problems the bill is facing in the House.

The preferred way forward for unions and the reform campaign Health Care for America Now (not to mention the preferred solution of many members) is for the House to pass the Senate bill along with a separate package making what they see as a variety of necessary changes to it. (Given the math in the Senate, many of those changes would have to be passed via the filibuster proof budget-reconciliation process.) But the House isn’t willing to take anything for granted. And for the promise of a fix to be worth the paper it’s printed on, members will want some assurance from the Senate (among others) that the Senate will be willing to act. With just about every Democrat in the Senate saying they’ve moved on to other, newer priorities, it’s safe to say they’re not getting that.

Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters that using budget reconciliation to pass a fix bill “is one of the things we need to look at with the change in circumstances,” but added that “no decisions have been made.”

Basically what they’re saying is, “Hey, we busted our ass getting the damn thing done, including the whole drama with votes in the middle of the night. The ball’s in your court.”