Struggling to salvage health reform, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have begun considering a list of changes to the Senate bill in hopes of making it acceptable to liberal House members, according to sources familiar with the situation.
The changes could be included in separate legislation that, if passed, would pave the way for House approval of the Senate bill — a move that would preserve President Barack Obama’s vision of a sweeping health reform plan. […]
The changes are being worked on this weekend with plans for Pelosi to present them to her caucus next week, according to sources familiar with the situation. But, sources stressed, neither Reid nor Pelosi know if this strategy can win the support of their members, but they are attempting it because it is the quickest path to passage.
While we are all pressuring the House to make sure they support the Senate bill, if we do want a miracle happen and have both houses get their act together and do a reconciliation bill as well (something I have constantly derided because I simply do not think the votes are there), we also need to be calling our Senators to pressure them to assure the House they will get it done.
After all, the House is rightly suspicious of the Senate, as the Senate has been the damned problem all along. Nancy Pelosi and the House got together, put a bill together in an acceptable amount of time, passed it, and sent it to the Senate to languish. And remember, one of the reasons progressives and liberals are so rightly pissed is that the house bill was no real piece of hard left legislation. It was at best itself a very moderate piece of work, paid for, with no single payer, no government takeover of healthcare ala the NHS, built on the existing insurance infrastructure, and was so moderate that the House bill could have been something Republicans would have passed thirty years ago.
And then it went to the Senate, with the arcane procedural hoops, the ridiculous rules and vote requirements, complete with 60 preening and insufferable egos, all wealthy in their own right and heavily insured, and they took forever passing a bill that basically is so conservative that were the Republicans not all teabagging insane would pass today. Hell, if the Republicans were in power and thought it would get them some votes, we would probably be cheering them for passing the Senate bill, it is so responsible compared to their prescription drug giveaway during the Bush era.
So while I have been testy and angry with progressives, it is because I simply do not see the way forward and have never seen the votes there for reconciliation and the logic of just scrapping everything and starting over and somehow magically getting to a liberal bill, not because I think they are wrong on the policy.
Long story short, if this is going to work, there needs to be pressure not only on the House to pass the Senate bill, but even more pressure on the Senate to not screw the house, the Democratic base, the American people, and this administration. The Senate has been the problem from the beginning, so we should remember who is to blame if this really dies.