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Tilting at Windmills

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July 23, 2009

SO MUCH FOR THE AUGUST DEADLINE.... The writing, it seems, was on the wall. Yesterday, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) signaled that a pre-recess vote on health care reform was unlikely, with members preferring to "take a little longer to get it right." Even President Obama started talking more about getting this done "this year," rather than "by August."

Today, it became official.

The top Democrat in the Senate says lawmakers won't vote until after August on health care, a blow to President Barack Obama's ambitious timetable.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters Thursday the Finance Committee will act on its portion of the bill before Congress' monthlong break. Then Reid will merge that bill with separate legislation already passed by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The Nevada Democrat says the decision to delay a vote was made Wednesday night in the hopes of getting a final bipartisan bill.

Remember, the Republican strategy, which they've openly acknowledged, has been to force the delay in order to improve their chances of killing the bill. Conservatives and other opponents of reform will see this as a tactical victory, and evidence that the larger effort is in peril. It will be up to Democrats and reform advocates to prove them wrong.

Jonathan Cohn noted a couple of weeks ago that the recess is made up of four long weeks "in which special interests can bang away at legislation, running ads and ginning up grassroots opposition. They're going to do that anyway, of course, even if Congress meets the deadline. But it'll be a lot harder to kill reform altogether if bills have already passed each house and all that awaits is Conference Committee negotiations."

What's more, the post-recess session will be, for lack of a better word, busy. The White House has said all along it expects a bill out of Congress by October. After senators return from the recess, setting aside weeks of debate for health care reform will be very difficult. And no one seems to believe the effort will have any chance if it's pushed off until 2010.

At this point, Reid is counting on the Finance Committee to at least get its work done before the chamber breaks, at which point the unpleasant task of combining the Finance and HELP bills can begin in earnest.

Steve Benen 1:40 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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Comments

Poll the people on the pols

Seen lots of polls on Obama's approval rating.
They seem to come out hourly...

How about a few on Congress's standing?

Posted by: koreyel on July 23, 2009 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks Max Baucus. He is one hell of a doucehbag.

Posted by: Micheline on July 23, 2009 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

This is more than a little maddening, especially since the professed 'reason' for the delay is to work toward a bipartisan bill.

Republicans will not work constructively. They have rammed their legislation through in the past, numerous times, without setting aside time for working toward 'bipartisanship.'

I hope this does not mean what I fear it does--that real reform has just been killed--by this pussyfooting around for Republicans' sake (and to keep David Broder happy). Pathetic.

Posted by: terraformer on July 23, 2009 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

This is a victory for the American virtues of freedom and self-reliance, and our Judeo-Christian heritage of free enterprise.

Posted by: Al on July 23, 2009 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama doesn't want to go the way of Carter and Clinton, he needs to call their bluff and call a special session the moment they try to adjourn.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on July 23, 2009 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

The fat lady's warming up...

Posted by: howie on July 23, 2009 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

This is a victory for disgusting and dispicable examples of humanity who are more than willing to spend hundreds of billions killing brown people, but unwilling to spend a fraction of that helping their fellow citizens.

It's also an example of why Harry Reid HAS GOT TO GO AS MAJORITY LEADER. He's a chickenshit, gutless turd who should be sent packing. Tomorrow, if possible, and replaced by Russ Feingold.

I bet Russ wouldn't put up with the GOP's never-ending procedural bullshit.

Posted by: Mark D on July 23, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad health insurance companies are denying me freedom of choice, and exerting monopoly power in so many markets. (so much for 'free enterprise'.) Can the poster named 'Al' and others like him be any stupider?

Posted by: Frank C. on July 23, 2009 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

This is a victory for the American virtues of freedom and self-reliance, and our Judeo-Christian heritage of free enterprise.
Posted by: Al on July 23, 2009 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK******************

Hey Al, Why don't you take some of your 'freedom' and, for instance, rely on yourself to fix your own broken bones and help your dying mother when no one in your family has any medical care or insurance. People who are generationally and chronically poor and uneducated, the sick, orphaned children, the elderly, lame, and developmentally disabled can not use the 'private enterprise' system like you can, you piece of sheite! I believe the Judeo-Christian ethic that you pathetically reference to vacuously attempt to make some point would tell most people whose souls are not filled with shit to 'love thy neighbor', 'do unto others', 'treat others as you would like to be treated', 'help the poor', 'feed the needy', 'be a good Samaritan', etc. You and you ilk are true scum. May you rot in your god's hell, where they put people like you who defame and abuse his good name.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on July 23, 2009 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Let us not waste these next weeks, either.

We'll be sharpening our pitchforks and stowing away fuel for our torches.

Memo to the Congress: We'll see you assholes in Washington in September, god damn you crooked, arrogant clowns.

Posted by: neill on July 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

No bill? No RECESS!!

Posted by: Marko on July 23, 2009 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK

Bye-bye Health care reform. May it rust in peace like the souls who killed it. Nauseating...

Posted by: stevio on July 23, 2009 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Idiots

Posted by: Polaris on July 23, 2009 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

How is it possible that people who've been reading this blog for at least a year, some daily, are still unaware that Al is a parody?

all of you so called "realty based" liberals.

A big wink-wink to a "realty-based liberal" I know and love. He knows who he is.

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Isn't Al a right-wing spoof? Reform is dead.

Posted by: Rick on July 23, 2009 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Caught this story on the radio yesterday (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106655060) about Baucus' sphere of influence and fund raising. Be sure to check the chart in the sidebar.

jkb

Posted by: Jason Broccardo on July 23, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Remind me again why the top Democrat in the Senate is Harry Reid? Has he ever been anything other than useless?

Posted by: Bernard Gilroy on July 23, 2009 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

There is no excuse for this delay...none. "Getting it right" is always a delay tactic and in this case they are just trying to get the best for the ins companies...that is what is so hard.

Real reform is simple...not for profit is what our elected officials are trying to cope with. Expanding Medicare for all is simple...getting subsidies to the private HC ins groups is complicated.

They need the 4wks to find a way to make sure the 'public option' will fail.

This is the battle of our generation...it will make or break this nation and our congress is fighting for the lobbyists and not the good or the demands of the people.

If this was a private corp then this "board of advisers"(the senate)would already have been fired for wasting time and money. A private corporation would not tolerate the huge delay coming from such a focused group. It's ridiculous that we have to tolerate it. We voted for partisanship...not catering to the minority or their lobbyists army.

Reid's behavior as a weakling is inexcusable on this issue. He should demand the senate (especially Baucus' committee) work through the recess until they can get a bill out of committees.

Sooner or later Baucus must come to terms with reality...the people are not going to let this go because it is **necessity** that is driving the issue. HC ins. reform is at the point of no return...there is no going back and only one way forward to get real reform...NOT FOR PROFIT.

It is not 'socialized medicine', it is just not putting our health care up for sale or allowing people to profiteer at the expense of our lives.

If Baucus and Conrad can't do any better job than this then they are spending too much time **avoiding** doing their jobs.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 23, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Health Care Reform will be DEAD as a result of the delay. Americans will have to put up with additional Republican racial blather all month. It should be done before the recess.So it will be done RIGHT!!! The politicians should be damned and should not have access to any Health Insurance until this REFORM is passed. It is American lives at stake noT ADULTEROUS FOUL MOUTHED LYING RACIAL POLITICIANS!

Posted by: MLJOHNSTON on July 23, 2009 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, forget health care. The money has spoken.
Progressives need to make public campaign financing the #1 goal. Period.

If we have that, we can get public health care, and an end to Likud dictated foreign policy, Wall street looting and a lot of other bad things that are dragging the country down.

Cheap... Say we spend $100 million per year to take 90% of the lobbiest power out of the picture. That sum is literally dust on the mantelpiece.

This is what big money fears most. Cut their power off at the roots and we stand a chance of getting a country actually run for the benefit of the people.

Posted by: Buford on July 23, 2009 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

If the Senate can't do it's job, then some of their perks, like a month off in August, should be revoked. Make them pay for their inaction.

Posted by: Michael W on July 23, 2009 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Mark D-Hitting the nail on the head.

Why is Harry Reid always so damn disappointing? Democrats have majorities everywhere and he's a friggin' stick in the mud. Can you even imagine a positive minded politician in his position? Why doesn't he step down? He doesn't even seem to want to do his job.

Posted by: dannyshenanigan on July 23, 2009 at 2:33 PM | PERMALINK

Yep. Real healthcare reform is dead and Obama's first term is a failure.

Unless the economy screams back to life and people's real income (after taxes & healthcare expenses) increase we will have a new Republican President in 2012 - which of course will only make things worse...

Posted by: BrianInMKE on July 23, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone please explain why my earlier post has been removed.

I feel like the peasant in the Holy Grail: "Look at the violence inherent in the system!!! Help!! Help!! I'm being repressed!!!"

Just another example of liberal fascism and their selective belief in free speech, which is only for speech that they agree with. LOL :-P

Posted by: Chicounsel on July 23, 2009 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

I did think that it was important to elect all those democrats. I did think that it would make a difference. I was wrong, naive, etc. Money and the good old boys and girl club (Senate) is what its all about. At least Pelosi seems to have some grit.

Posted by: stuart on July 23, 2009 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

"[Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid] says the decision to delay a vote [until after August] was made Wednesday night in the hopes of getting a final bipartisan bill."

Harry Reid still hopes to get a bipartisan bill? My head explodes whenever that man opens his pie hole.

Posted by: Chris on July 23, 2009 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

I just sent a nasty email to Reid asking him and Baucus to step down. I too am sick of these no-nothing do-nothings getting in the way of progress.

Posted by: Pat on July 23, 2009 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

Their pay should be docked...except with all the benefits the army of ins and HC lobbyists are throwing at them, they wouldn't even notice.

Real bastards...I no longer believe our congress and especially the senate is a democratic body (name only) but for the most part are just protectors of the wealthiest Americans and their multinational corporations.

This issue has exposed the corporatist dems, the defeatist dems for the bought and bribed scum they are. Using "bipartisanship" as an excuse to cover up their complicity with special interests to kill HC reform. A curse on them so they will see what they cannot control(their own health)demand change....hic et nunc.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 23, 2009 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

http://reid.senate.gov/contact/index.cfm

Posted by: Pat on July 23, 2009 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Harry Reid is Mormon. I don't know very many Mormon's that are Dems!!!

You think he's bad, wait until his son Rory enters the race - last I heard, he was a commissioner in Nevada.

Reid is only doing what Lieberman and Barr has done, they know running against another GOP (Gay Or Pervert) they won't win.

Posted by: annjell on July 23, 2009 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Remind me again why the top Democrat in the Senate is Harry Reid?

Because the Blue Dog types won't support anyone more progressive, I imagine.

Posted by: PeakVT on July 23, 2009 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

***you can use the words interchangeably for GOP (Gay or Pervert - Gay or Pedophile).

Posted by: annjell on July 23, 2009 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Put another hash mark in the 'loss' column. What a disappointment this administration has been so far. Closing Gitmo off track, placating Wall Street, DADT still the law of the land, insurance reform derailed, transparency thrown to the wolves. Sigh.

Good ol' stagnant, do-nothing bi-partisan bullshit.

Posted by: doubtful on July 23, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

"...Unless the economy screams back to life and people's real income (after taxes & healthcare expenses) increase we will have a new Republican President in 2012 - which of course will only make things worse...
Posted by: BrianInMKE on July 23, 2009 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Don't be an idiot. If Obama's plan isn't successful we certainly aren't going to go running back to the very party that caused this disaster to begin with. We will just get better dems...for as you should be able to see it is not Obama that is failing us but the corporatist dems. I don't think people will be screaming "yeah, let's bring back Bush"

Anybody elected would be hard pressed to deal with the taped and bandaged economic disaster left us from the Bush administration and the party of no...the obstructionist party only wants to continue to grow the wealth wealthier...that is all the 'plans' they have. We will never elect them again. Their big plan is more tax cuts for the wealthy and a spending freeze for 5yrs. Can't get any stupider than that.

A republican president in 2012 would not give the party enough time to educate themselves on policy making. Name one thing that came from this party that was for the good of the people...one thing. They are wrong on everything in this modern age and would only try to bring about a coporatocracy of a fascist nature.

A republican president in 2012...hahahahahahaha.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 23, 2009 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Screw the Finance Committee Bill. Get it out and drop it like a hot potatoe. And tell Baucus exactly why.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on July 23, 2009 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Screw the Finance Committee Bill. Get it out and drop it like a hot potatoe. And tell Baucus exactly why.

As for Hairy "No Balls" Reid, it can't be the Blue Dogs' fault. You only need a majority of the caucus, and the Blue Dogs are a distinct minority.

He needs to GO.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on July 23, 2009 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry for the double post. I have no memory at all of posting it the first time. I need some o' that "health care" people are talking about all the time to fix my dim brain.

Posted by: Sarah Barracuda on July 23, 2009 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Like I said...with Harry Reid as majority leader, if 99 senators were dems and only one senator was republican that one would rule the senate in the name of Reid's bipartisanship.

How can you compromise with a group who demands failure and refuses to cooperate? When is "fu*k you" ever gonna come out of Reid's mouth? When is he ever gonna stand up for the majority who demand success?

Always want to know the results ahead of time to decide if he will take action, before he actually does anything to change them. This issue demanded he go all out...to any length to get it done...and he has failed miserably so far.

If only he'd do what republicans used to do when they were in the majority...hold committee mtgs without even telling the minority party and ram bills through without the minority's input at all.

STOP TRYING TO BE NICE TO THESE ASSHOLES! It's why we voted them out once they were exposed for what they are.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 23, 2009 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK
A republican president in 2012...hahahahahahaha.

You have a lot more confidence in the intelligence of the electorate than I have. Remember, George W. Bush was re-elected after 4 years of making it unmistakably clear what he was.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on July 23, 2009 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

This is why I laugh why the DSCC calls asking for money and I tell them they can call me back when there is a Democrat as Senate Majority Leader. Health care reform is essentially dead now. All that is left is for the plug to be pulled mercifully sometime before the end of the year, and with it, the plug on Obama's Presidency. Thank you, Senator Reid, you must be proud of yourself.

Oh, one more question for Reid: When does Dawn Johnson get a vote as head of OLC?

Posted by: bushworstpresidentever on July 23, 2009 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

In the interests of bipartisanship, in the event there is no effective healthcare, I will be voting Republican in 2010. I trust others will join me.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on July 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see a poll on Harry's standing. In my opinion has numbers should be negative. This guy has no business being the leader of anything. Brownies scouts would terrify him. We need a bulldog, not a poodle in that job.

Posted by: Bob Currie on July 23, 2009 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Remind me again why the top Democrat in the Senate is Harry Reid? Has he ever been anything other than useless

I know this is difficult to accept, but the reason Reid is leader is because he is doing what the other senators want.

His replacement, I promise you, would be every bit as useless as he has been.

Now you can continue to support the Democrats or you can face up to the harsh fact that you have been suckered. It's difficult. I know. I've been there.

Posted by: Duncan Kinder on July 23, 2009 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK
Just another example of liberal fascism and their selective belief in free speech, which is only for speech that they agree with.

Posted by: Chicounsel

Last I checked, "free speech" means that the gov't can't stop or punish you for speaking your mind about an issue (as long as it doesn't incite violence or aim to do harm ... or, apparently, is aimed at a white police officer by a black Harvard professor).

It does not, however, protect idiotic blog comments written by raging dickbags from being deleted.

Yet another wingnut who failed Civics 101.

:-P

Posted by: Mark D on July 23, 2009 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK
In the interests of bipartisanship, in the event there is no effective healthcare, I will be voting Republican in 2010. I trust others will join me.
Yes, because the GOP will do such a great job fixing the things Obama and the Dems in Congress couldn't get fixed because the GOP prevented them from fixing them.

Or ... something. I'm sure it makes sense in your head.

Personally, if they can't get this done -- despite the American people's overwhelming support for it, 60 seats in the Senate, and a Dem in the WH -- I'm outta here. In fact, I'm currently lining up some options in Denmark and the Netherlands.

Seriously. We'll leave because we have no desire for our son to grow up in a nation that shows no concern for its own citizens.

It's sad, but I see no other option.

Posted by: Mark D on July 23, 2009 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

This is a formal apology, to LGBT community.
I am not using GOP (Gay or Pervert) to demean anyone. I was just using this as a way to let people know, these bible touting officials are not who they say they are.

They vote against everything that doesn't suit their interest. They are against any minority group. They preach hate among minorities, they preach against abortion while secretly endorsing them....

And I was using this as a way to say to the gullible, stop believing everything you hear from these lying, good-for-nothing idiots.

So, to show my sincerity, I will not spell it out anymore using those words. I will just say GOP. Please accept this as a sincere apology.

Posted by: annjell on July 23, 2009 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

If Obama's plan isn't successful we certainly aren't going to go running back to the very party that caused this disaster to begin with. -bjobotts

Local race polling suggest in many areas, that's already happening. Dodd is losing, the junior seat in Illinois is contentious, New Jersey Gov. Corzine is losing badly, and that's just from today's round-up, but as a regular you know it's like that every day.

I agree that it is unlikely (but not impossible) we have a Republican president in 2012, but only because the people vying for the position are so lacking.

But it is certainly not out of the realm of believable reality that congress will take a more conservative shift in 2012, and if the Democrats already can't get anything done with the overwhelming majorities they have, how will they fare with a few less votes?

We need to face the fact that the Democrats, when presented with an opportunity to knock a touchdown out of the court chose instead to buntfumbleturnover.

Posted by: doubtful on July 23, 2009 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

***you can use the words interchangeably for GOP (Gay or Pervert - Gay or Pedophile).

You could if you were a batshit crazy homophobe who is incapable of having an unexpressed thought.

Posted by: shortstop on July 23, 2009 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop,

I did issue an apology. I have 2 gay cousins, and a few male gay friends. First of all, the GOP are not honorable men, my cousins and friends are honorable and lovable people.

Yes, the choice of words I used were hurtful. That is why I issued the apology without the urgence of anyone.

I got out of control, because, I am tired of the crap the GOP spews of telling people how to live when they are not living up to those very same expectations.

Posted by: annjell on July 23, 2009 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

fuck harry reid. no fate is too horrific for him.

Posted by: Ken on July 23, 2009 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

And just what happens after the recess when it becomes clear that any health care reform bill will most definitely NOT be "bipartisan"?
Those four weeks of recess aren't just for the use of the anti-reform people; those in favor of reform will also have time to work on Senators and Representatives. Nor would I expect the DNC, the President or even OfA to go around broadcasting what their plans are for the recess - why give the opposition any advance warning?
Which group prevails will depend on how much pressure is applied and by whom it is applied.
And once Congress reconvenes, there will be nothing stopping the Senate Democrats from offering a Democratic bill that matches whatever comes out of the House; under the reconciliation rules there only needs to be 50 ayes with the VP casting the tie-breaking vote and I'm fairly certain Biden would vote affirmative.

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