Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 15, 2010

LATE-NIGHT TALKS INCH CLOSER TO HEALTH DEAL.... After a slow start, the White House has its foot on the gas, steering closer to a final health care reform bill that can pass both chambers.

On Wednesday, we saw key policymakers meet for more than eight hours, addressing several key areas of disagreement. Yesterday afternoon, it appeared White House officials had reached a compromise with union leaders over health care financing. And last night, the president once again brought congressional leaders back to the White House to help inch even closer to the finish line.

President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats stand within days if not hours of striking final deals on historic health care legislation after key labor unions won concessions and pledged their support. [...]

Dozens of issues still needed to be finalized to reconcile bills passed separately by the House and Senate, but several lawmakers said that in the wake of the deal on the insurance plan tax, they felt a logjam had been broken.

Negotiators arrived for additional talks at the White House around 9 p.m. (ET), with the president on hand for the discussions. Participants reportedly wrapped up around 1:30 a.m. this morning, after having made "solid progress," according to a statement released to the media.

I wouldn't put money on it, but there's at least a possibility that the talks could produce a package ready for Congressional Budget Office scrutiny today. The CBO review would likely take about a week.

Of course, it's worth emphasizing that Democratic talks are proceeding under the assumption that the 60-vote caucus in the Senate will remain intact. There is a very real possibility that Massachusetts will elect a conservative Republican to replace Ted Kennedy next week, handing the GOP an opportunity to block the entire Democratic agenda for the rest of the year, including health care reform.

The question, then, is whether health care reform dies if Martha Coakley loses on Tuesday. The answer is unclear, but the initiative's chances would deteriorate greatly. To salvage the bill, reform proponents would have to: a) convince the House to pass the Senate bill, as is; b) convince one Senate Republican to let the Senate vote up or down on the legislation; or c) wrap up the process very quickly, before the newly elected Republican is sworn into office.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (23)

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To salvage the bill, reform proponents would have to: a) convince the House to pass the Senate bill, as is; b) convince one Senate Republican to let the Senate vote up or down on the legislation; or c) wrap up the process very quickly, before the newly elected Republican is sworn into office.

If Coakley loses, I'd say (c) would have the best chance of happening, with some chance of (a) if (c) turns out to be impossible. I'd be absolutely astonished if (b) came to pass.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on January 15, 2010 at 8:17 AM | PERMALINK

hey Benen, Scott Brown is now polling ahead of Coakley.

What an effing disaster. So terribly depressing that Democrats crapped themselves in such a historic manner.

Instead of articulating a coherent agenda after the inauguration Democrat party hacks on the blogosphere were content to tell everyone about the latest Sarah Palin scandal or what stupid shit Mike Steele said that day. No wonder a crappy male model right wing retard like Scott Brown could peal away votes and be polling ahead going into the final weekend for Ted Kennedy's seat.

As a resident of Massachusetts I couldn't be more depressed about the state of the Democratic party's implosion.

Posted by: grinning cat on January 15, 2010 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

Well, i guess its all over for Healthcare reform...thanks to the progressives and the Liebermanns and the Ben Nelsons screwing things up causing an impasse... All the push for reform has been done in VAIN!!! What a fuc**ing shame.

Posted by: wockeezy1 on January 15, 2010 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

Nice to see the doomsayers are out of bed early. Of course, if I was always that pessimistic, I wouldn't be able to sleep either.

Posted by: Doug on January 15, 2010 at 8:51 AM | PERMALINK

According to RCP, Brown is ahead in only two polls, Suffolk and PCP, both have Coakley within the margin of error. Nearly every other both have Coakley far ahead.

The media is buying into the "momentum" bit, generated by the right-wing noise machine. This may prove a self-fulfilling prophecy if it isn't countered. This may be a race that shouldn't be in contention at all given the Democratic registration edge, but that doesn't mean Coakley is already defeated. Our side always seems ready to cede victory to the Repubs waaaay early; compare Gore vs. Bush the Chimp against the wingers' actions in Franklin vs. Coleman.

Sometimes even I think we're defeatists.

Posted by: crusader1 on January 15, 2010 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Errr... A bit premature to be writing that epitaph, don't you think?

Posted by: A dc wonk on January 15, 2010 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

wockeezy1: I'd be interested to know why you include progressives in your no-thanks-to list? Many items in the bill--as much of a shortfall on many other items as it is--were due to progressive pushing. It's thanks to the Nelsons and the Liebermans that we don't have truly progressive reform, not progressives.

Posted by: terraformer on January 15, 2010 at 8:56 AM | PERMALINK

RE: terraformer

Yeh but progressives like anthony weiner from new york would rather kill the bill than to pass the bill as is. If he would just stop complaining we would have already passed the bill from the senate already. This is why things in washington never get done. BTW..i hate the bill as is but i'd rather have a bill than no bill.

Posted by: wockeezy1 on January 15, 2010 at 9:13 AM | PERMALINK

Worked the phone banks for Coakley over the past couple of nights - - the people I spoke with seemed to finally be waking up to the idea that there is an election next week. No doubt Brown caught momentum at the absolute perfect time (enough exposure to peak, not enough to have the curtain pulled) but I think Coakley will pull it out in the end, there's too much awareness in the state already and we still have the long wkend...

Posted by: Michael on January 15, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

Before everyone goes into gloom and doom mode, please remember that the "poll" everyone is so upset about is from the the Boston Herald, not the Boston Globe.

The Herald had a long and glorious history [4 Pulitzer prizes prior to 1954] but it is now a Murdock tabloid,; all it lacks is the semi-clothed girl on page 6 to bring it down to complete Murdock gutter level. Put a great big R after this "poll" to indicate it's bias.

Posted by: OKDem on January 15, 2010 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Yeh but progressives like anthony weiner from new york would rather kill the bill than to pass the bill as is.

Bullshit. Weiner has never once advocated for killing the bill. He has been both a vocal voice for progressive elements and a real pragmatist during this process.

Posted by: Alex on January 15, 2010 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

c) wrap up the process very quickly, before the newly elected Republican is sworn into office.

The ticking time bomb scenario...maybe some waterboarding is in order.

Posted by: qwerty on January 15, 2010 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

When I read the "Late Night Talks" headline, I thought this post would have something to do with NBC, Leno, and Conan.

Posted by: CJColucci on January 15, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

I can't imagine a more convoluted mess of funding sources and loopholes for this bill. Why can't the dems just do something simple like rescind the Bush tax cuts and apply it directly instead of all the flim flam bullshit like the Medicare cuts and this unworkable taxation on the Cadillac health plans? The dems are masters of obfuscation and needless complexity. Fucking mess.

Posted by: lou on January 15, 2010 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

d) Take the election results to court a la Coleman v. Franken to delay the seating. Teach the Republicans that Coleman v. Franken was a bad precedent.

Posted by: bob h on January 15, 2010 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

d) Take the election results to court a la Coleman v. Franken to delay the seating

That may happen anyway -- it could be very close.

Posted by: Alex on January 15, 2010 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

RE: bob h

Coleman vs Franken court ruling happened because there was a run-off election (i.e., results were too close to call)...if that happens with Coakley then great!! but i'm not too sure that will happen.

Posted by: wockeezy1 on January 15, 2010 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

LATE-NIGHT TALKS INCH CLOSER TO HEALTH DEAL

Gee, overlooking the word 'health' when first reading that headline I thought for a second this post was going to be about the all-important Jay-Conan issue being resolved. Thanks staying on the sane side, Steve.

Posted by: eserwe on January 15, 2010 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Guys,

I don't care if Coakley is elected, the fact is until the filibuster is broken, Obama is dead in the water. The idea of a 60 vot supermajority rule in the US Senate is simply undemocratic. That progressives haven't started an a powerful, well funded campaign to end the darn rule is amazing. You would think that if anybody believed in democracy it would be progressives. I don't care about the argument that we could use the filibuster to protect our positions in a cycle or two. Everywhere but in America elections have consequences.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 15, 2010 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

wockeezy1: Coleman vs Franken court ruling happened because there was a run-off election (i.e., results were too close to call)

No, it wasn't a runoff, and runoff doesn't mean "any election in which the results are too close to call." It means a second ballot.

Posted by: estelle on January 15, 2010 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

hey Benen, Scott Brown is now polling ahead of Coakley.

What an effing disaster. So terribly depressing that Democrats crapped themselves in such a historic manner.

oh will you go wet your pants somewhere else please? A different poll had Coakley up by eight just yesterday, and that Suffolk poll that has Brown up is not to be believed. Suffolk had Obama winning the Dem primary big--remember how that turned out? It's a crappy poll, just like Rasmussen, get over it.
Any other state and I might be worried, but not in Mass--the Repubs simply do not have the numbers to win, and the Dems are wide awake now.
Just GOTV Mass Dems--I'm sick of reading this crap.

Posted by: Allan Snyder on January 15, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

wockeezy1: if you think Progressives are the problem, you are the problem.

Posted by: dpmn on January 15, 2010 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I say go with (c) - if the Republicans can obstruct Obama nominees and filibuster everything in sight, surely Democrats will have the guts to delay his swearing in until Healthcare is signed.

Posted by: Ohioan on January 15, 2010 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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