Rahm Emanuel thinks health care reform can wait. In an interview with the New York Times, Emanuel suggested that Congress would deal first with jobs, then banking regulation, and then circle back around to health care reform. As Ezra Klein observes:
The timetable Emanuel is laying out makes little sense. The jobs bill will take some time. Financial regulation will take much longer. Let's be conservative and give all this four months. Is Emanuel really suggesting that he expects Congress to return to health-care reform in the summer before the election? Forgetting whether there's political will at that point, there's no personnel: Everyone is home campaigning.
Moreover, there's a time limit on health-care reform. The open reconciliation instructions the Senate could use to modify the bill expire when the next budget is (there's disagreement over the precise rule on this) considered or passed. That is to say, the open reconciliation instructions expire soon. Democrats could build new reconciliation instructions into the next budget, but that's going to be a heavy lift. The longer this takes, the less likely it is to happen. And Emanuel just said that the administration's preference is to let it take longer. If I were a doctor, I'd downgrade health care's prognosis considerably atop this evidence.
My colleague Jonathan Chait agrees, and offers this helpful analogy:
Let's call this the "My boyfriend is going to do a world tour with his rock band, then have a totally platonic weekend in Vegas with his ex-girlfriend, then join the Army, and then we'll get married" plan. Anybody see any potential problems here?