Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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August 23, 2009

ENZI JOINS GRASSLEY, MAY REJECT HIS OWN COMPROMISE.... The largest hurdle for moving health care reform on the Hill is the Senate Finance Committee's Gang of Six, featuring three Democrats and three Republicans. This week, two of three GOP members of the group said they're prepared to vote against their own compromise.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R) of Iowa acknowledged this on Monday, and Sen. Mike Enzi (R) of Wyoming told Roll Call the same thing.

Sen. Mike Enzi (Wyo.), a key GOP health care negotiator, probably didn't intend to signal that Democrats and Republicans will ultimately fail to compromise on a comprehensive reform bill when Congress resumes its work after the August recess.

But in a lengthy interview conducted with Enzi this week via e-mail, the Finance Committee negotiator and ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions panel indicated his support for health care reform is predicated partly on its ability to garner the support of 75 to 80 Senators. That condition is shared by fellow Finance negotiator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the panel's ranking member.

Given the wide philosophical and political chasm dividing the two parties, the prospect of crafting a bill that can attract nearly all 60 Senate Democrats and at least 25 Republicans is doubtful -- and increasingly so.

"I hope that reports that the White House is pursuing a go-it-alone strategy are incorrect, because we need to get a bill that 75 or 80 Senators can support," Enzi said Thursday in a written response to questions posed by Roll Call.

Roll Call's arithmetic was a little off -- Enzi is looking for a bill that can attract 60 Senate Dems and at least 15 Senate Republicans -- but the point is the same. Like Grassley, Enzi is prepared to oppose his own compromise -- if the Gang of Six ever get around to finding one -- unless about half the GOP caucus supports it.

Enzi, in other words, can help craft what he thinks is a good bill, but if his caucus -- whose leadership has said it will reject a bill no matter how many concessions Democrats make -- doesn't like it, he'll reject it.

This is, of course, backwards. Enzi, like Grassley, starts with the premise that conservative opponents of reform have to like the reform bill. The substance of the bill isn't as important as support from the small, discredited Senate minority that is actively opposed to the very idea of health care reform.

It's farcical.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (10)

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The Dems need to re-wind the tape, say three or four years.

Watch the Reps turn off the lights and adjourn a House Meeting.

Watch the Reps hold closed door committee meetings with NO Dems invited.

Watch The Hammer assemble his peeps with a bullwhip and a bribe/threat, to vote en masse.

You get the picture.

-Do THEY? ? ?

Posted by: DAY on August 23, 2009 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

I thought farce was a comic work using zaney situations and slapstick , crude characterizations and un probe a bully improbable situations . I didn't actually glom onto the idea that farce was a deep religious feeling of family values , and schoolyard philosophy .

Posted by: FRP on August 23, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

This is the inverse of the Gingrich rules- when he was in charge, any bill had to have a majority of Republican votes ("majority of the majority") to come to the floor, even if it could have passed with Democrat votes. Now that they're in the minority, Republicans insist that any bill has to have a majority of the minority to pass. This is, of course, ridiculous to anyone outside of David Broder. (And inside David Broder it's too dark to read.)

Posted by: SP on August 23, 2009 at 8:18 AM | PERMALINK

The incitements to the lowest common denominator of civic discourse were cemented when George Herbert Walker Bush stood outside a NJ flag factory performing , for the camera mob , a recitation of the American "Pledge of Allegience" . The idea of a result placing any distance between Dr Johnsons prescription between the level of charlatan chicanery and flag cover apparently has been replaced with Constitutional flag rage farce .

Posted by: FRP on August 23, 2009 at 8:30 AM | PERMALINK

There are 13 Democratic members of the finance comittee. It may be time for the 10 who have been shut out of the process to come up with their own bill and get it out of the comittee. The Republicans have made it perfectly clear that they have no interest in getting a bill to pass.

Next thing you know they'll be saying "nothing should pass unless it can get 100 votes in the Senate".

Posted by: Atlliberal on August 23, 2009 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

It's farcical.

not really, not with the Obama administration giving republicans and Blue Dogs grossly outsized importance at the direct contradiction of the wishes of the American people and the promises Obama got elected on. Liberal health care reform, including the so-called "robust public option" is Obama's to ram through Congress without giving a damn what the self-absorbed corporatist republicans and Blue Dogs think or want.

Three quarters of the American people want liberal, effective, low cost health care like every other wealthy industrialized nation and many not so wealthy nations have for their citizens. Nations who aren't wholly in the claws of a vicious corporate greed obsessed plutocracy who devote all their wealth, power, and resources to screwing the disadvantaged.

Anything short of liberal health care is a massive failure on Obama's part.

Posted by: pluege on August 23, 2009 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

FRP writes:"George Herbert Walker Bush stood outside a NJ flag factory performing , for the camera mob "

-And so the Dems need to say and do OUTRAGEOUS things-ala Bachmann/Boner/Palin- to get face time on the TeeVee.

And then let the Reps respond for a change. . .

Posted by: DAY on August 23, 2009 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

more than 75% of the American people have indicated that they want liberal health care. It is therefore correct that 75 Senators should be voting for liberal health care. The 15 or so republicans and several democrats unwilling to vote for liberal health care are not representing the American people, they are working against the American people, just like bush/cheney did.

Posted by: pluege on August 23, 2009 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Everything that is going on right now just shows where everyone in the congress stands on this, we know exactly who is in support of healthcare and who is not, The republicans and their masters in the health industry have stirred up the -not so smart folks into raving lunatics, hopefully after the recess the democrats will start to pass a good reform bill, without the crazies.

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Posted by: Lemuel on March 23, 2010 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK



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