Health Care Update
Dday has the skinny on the latest, which isn't all bad news for a change.
But I can't help but wonder whether this is going to end up being a huge problem:
Lurking in the background of all of these negotiations is the crumbling support from the most conservative Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, who is simply taking a beating on all of this in Nebraska, to the extent that he’s forced to waver on final support. Some of that is posturing, of course, but it’s no secret that Nelson was blindsided by the reaction to the exemption on Medicaid expansion funding for Nebraska which he carved out of the bill for himself. He’s in a very bad position.
It's unknown what effect this phony Reid controversy will have on all this. Is he weakened ---- strengthened? When you have such a narrow margin of error anything can happen.
Update: Actually, that's not the only problem:
Health care negotiators are facing “a serious problem” in resolving their differences and are not likely to have a final bill until February, according to key House Democrats involved in ongoing talks.
“We’ve got a problem on both sides of the Capitol. A serious problem,” Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday evening.
The difficulty in hashing out an agreement between the two chambers is largely due to there being so many different factions with a stake in the matter, Rangel said. “Normally you’re just dealing with the Senate and they talk about 60 votes and you listen to them and cave in, but this is entirely different,” he said. “I’m telling you that never has 218 been so important to me in the House.”
Another senior House Democrat familiar with negotiations on the bill said no progress has been made this week on any of the key sticking points in the House and Senate bills, despite steady meetings with union leaders and the White House.
“There’s no agreement. No deal on anything. Nothing,” the lawmaker said.
With all of these issues at a standstill, tensions are growing between the two chambers. Several House lawmakers have voiced frustration with Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) over concessions and special deals they cut in the Senate version.
“The Senate is just a pain in the ass to everybody in the world as far as I can tell. I’m so angry that I just wish from now on that we’d just find out what it is that Lieberman and Nelson will let us have,” the senior lawmaker said. “But we’re not giving up on anything in the House.”
“We keep hearing them squeal like pigs in the Senate that they had a tough time getting to 60,” Weiner said. “Well, it wasn’t particularly a picnic for us to get to 218. Generally speaking, the Senate kabuki dance has lost its magic on those of us in the House.”
And Rangel lamented that throughout the health care debate, Republicans have repeatedly tried to derail the entire process.
“They have decided that working with us is not on their agenda … It really takes away from so much of the enjoyment that people get in the House of Representatives. It’s a sad era for our country,” he said.