Status Quo

Well, I was hoping that Obama would outline a clear plan towards wrapping up HCR that could rally Congress to finish the job and move on. I feared that Obama would pare back expectations with some plan involving splitting the bill or negotiating with Snowe. As far as I can tell neither happened.

Things could change again by the time you read this, but for now Nancy Pelosi claims to have enough votes for the Senate bill if the Senate reciprocates (and maybe if it doesn’t; that was not clear). That leaves Reid’s reconciliation whip count as the one major question left up in the air. If you have limited time, probably the most important call you can make today is to let both Senators know that we need a reconciliation deal now. Time will not do the bill any favors. We particularly need calls from readers in key states like Louisiana, Arkansas, Virginia and Montana.

Mcc has the whip count here. Share your experiences in the comments.

The switchboard: 202-224-3121.

49 replies
  1. 1
    r€nato says:

    apologies for the off-topic at the very first comment:

    Hitler reacts to the iPad

    …I can’t call my rep. It’s Shadegg. Sorry. He’s retiring anyway so there’s another reason for him not to give a damn what half his constituency thinks.

  2. 2
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Relax TimF, the dem CC’rs are big boys and girls and know what’s at stake. Maybe Obama did light a fire under their ass just by showing fighting dem spirit last night. A broadly well received SOTU by their own presnit can have a powerful effect on the little congressional Unicorns, at least for the short term.

  3. 3
    r€nato says:

    Wasn’t that crazy lady Jean Schmidt yakking at Rahm before the SOTU? She seemed pretty animated and Rahm seemed like he was trying really hard to get away from her, politely. Anyone notice that or hear anything about what that was about?

  4. 4
    BR says:

    I’m calling my representative (at both offices) today reminding him of what Obama said and mentioning that I don’t want to see the house pointing the finger at the senate. I want them to pass the bill.

    I’m going to remind him that if the bill is as bad or embarrassing as some house progressives claim, the senate will work quickly to amend it after the fact.

  5. 5
    growingdaisies says:

    Sen. Cardin of MD’s office says he fully supports reconciliation and is strongly in support of doing what it takes to get the bill passed.

    Sen. Mikulski of MD’s office says that she has not taken a position.

    Faxed Mikulski and Rep. Sarbanes today. Strike while the iron is hot and all.

  6. 6
    inkadu says:

    @r€nato: Who woulda thunk Hitler in a bunker would be such a youtube remix sensation?

    My girlfriend dragged me to her computer last night after SOTU and made me watch the iPad marketing video from apple. The more I talked, the less I liked it. So it’s just a big iphone that doesn’t make phone calls, and is like a kindle but without an eInk screen? For five hundred dollars? I think my SO is going to have to watch Hitler’s review.

  7. 7
    Joe Beese says:

    After Massachusetts, the Senate is scared to death of this toxic bill. They don’t want to go anywhere near it. Plus it would offend their sense of their great dignity to allow terms to be dictated to them by those lower beings in the House.

    If Pelosi has the votes to pass the Senate bill as is, let her produce them. Otherwise, you can toss Obamacare next to Clintoncare on the scrapheap of history. And thank God for that.

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    I read on the ‘nets that it was POTUS v. SCOTUS in his POS SOTU addy, which was clear ASAP that this was not OK with the VIP bobbletards.

  9. 9
    r€nato says:


    I would have thought that the Downfall remix thing had been played out by now, but I guess not.

    Still no Flash support either.

    Q: Wanna know what the iPad nano looks like? A: It’s called an iPhone.

    It’s version 1.0. Let’s see what they do with it. For now, it’s a niche product and it definitely doesn’t quite live up to the hype.

  10. 10
    Violet says:

    I’m going to call my Rep and the WH today. No point in calling my two wingnut Senators.

  11. 11
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Joe Beese: Good morning sunshine.

  12. 12
    jenniebee says:

    Called Webb, gave my name and zip, asked where the Senator stands, got a non-committal he’s in support of the legislation, no coment about reconciliation; asked whether he would support pushing through a patch that would make it possible for the House to pass the Senate bill and she said that she’d pass my comments on.

    Then I said that I got a fundraising letter from the Senator and that I’d be happy to contribute but only if the Senator did whatever he could to get this passed. At that point she asked for my name and zip again and said that my comment would be passed on. I definitely got the feeling that mentioning money pushed me into a different category of getting my comment noticed.

    Ah, Bribery. Is there anything you can’t fix?

    Will call Warner in a nonce, but he’s always been more coy than Webb about HCR.

  13. 13
    inkadu says:

    @r€nato: Apple excels at hype. That’s why the Simpsons episode Mypods and Broomsticks is so awesomely hilarious. Full disclosure: I’m quite happy with my iTouch (except for how difficult it is to get the playcount counter to go up for podcasts).

  14. 14
    Max says:

    Called my rep, Barbara Lee. Her office says she has not formalized a position and is looking for input from her constituents. I told her to pass the bill.

    The aide also mentioned that Ms. Lee was signing on the Pingree letter. I had not heard of it.

    Here’s the linky.

  15. 15
    jenniebee says:

    @Joe Beese: word to the wise (or, in the present case, not) – around here, we have standards for our trolling, and unless you break out a political theory based on your observation of a lesbian bar fight, frankly, you’re going to have a hard time getting the kind of notice here you so obviously desperately crave.

  16. 16
    Tim F. says:

    @Max: link doesn’t work.

  17. 17
    inkadu says:

    @Tim F.: Original link works for me. But if you want to cut & paste:

    Edit: Oh, WordPress, is there anything you can’t misinterpret?

  18. 18
    Col. Klink says:

    Calling them in a public forum like the SOTU address will only backfire – the drama queens will all rush out on TV to tell their tales of woe as to where Rahm touched them if Obama did that.

    Obama needs to get Dem leadership on the House and Senate locked in deep in the secret vault of the capital building and deny them water and bathroom breaks until they get it done.

  19. 19
    Max says:

    @Tim F.: It works for me. Not sure what is up.

  20. 20
    jenniebee says:

    @Col. Klink: it may be better if he gives them water and denies the bio breaks. He can give them coffee, too. And the room should be one with lots of pipes that are extra-drippy.

    Gotta go!

  21. 21
    aimai says:


    I thought you were going to say that , in re fundraising, you were “generally in favor of donating to Webb” but you’d “have to see the actual request” and you’d consider it only if it was backed by the votes of all the Republicans running against him in the next race.

    I always mention donations, past and present. It was one of the things that pissed me off about Schumer’s office back in the day. One minute I’m receiving begging letters from him in his capacity as head of the DSCC, the next minute he doesn’t want to hear from me about how I want him to vote on something, or how I want the DSCC to function. Its something I hate about the way the Senate works: each of these jerks has a national function and a position on a committee that works on national issues and yet when you call them up its all “I’m sorry, the Senator only responds to his constituents…” And yet the beg us, nationally, for donations for their local elections.


  22. 22
    ellaesther says:

    Yesterday I reported that I spoke with Dick Durbin’s Health Legislative Assistant and that she essentially said that Durbin still backs the Senate bill and would like to see it pass the House, but that he was waiting to see what happened in the State of the Union.

    So I called back just now and was unable to speak with her again but left her a voicemail saying that while I personally wished that the President had been a little more forceful and directive last night, I thought it was clear that he was calling on the two Houses to get together and figure out a way to get it done, and that I hope that Sen. Durbin will work together with the other Senators to assure the House Democrats that the Senate will work with them to achieve reconciliation.

    And I called Roland Burris’s office again, and said essentially the same thing to the staffer who answered the phone.

  23. 23
    Will says:

    Who wants to place bets that Glenzilla will put a post up blasting Obama for criticizing the USSC to their face over Citizens United?

  24. 24
    Da Bomb says:

    @Max: It’s amazing, how all of sudden they are starting to get a slight fire under their asses to do something.

    Lazy dipshits!

  25. 25
    Da Bomb says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Or they can still cling tightly to their plastic tear- stained unicorns. That seems to work for plenty of people.

  26. 26
    Marc says:

    Called Steny Hoyer (my rep) and both senators today. Mikulski and Hoyer’s people gave the usual noncommital responses and I urged both of them to PTDB.

    But Cardin’s office voiced immediate, enthusiastic support for passing the bill and using reconciliation. (While I had them on the phone I also gave them some love for the senator’s comments about freezing military spending.) Cardin gets a bad reputation for being a boring candidate, but when you consider the other option was Michael Steele I’d have to say he’s just about the best damn member of the Senate.

  27. 27
    Capri says:

    Nothing will top the Downfall of Grammer, IMHO.

    It is the acme of Hitler clips.

    Although Hitler discovering that Ohio State’s football team lost to Purdue was pretty funny too.

  28. 28
    robertdsc says:

    Who wants to place bets that Glenzilla will put a post up blasting Obama for criticizing the USSC to their face over Citizens United?

    He ripped Alito really good from the excerpts I saw at the GOS.

  29. 29
    jenniebee says:

    @Capri: That is awesome. My favorite is still one of the ones where Hitler complains about the meme, but at this point, it’s hard to wade through all the other ones complaining about the meme to find the one I really liked*.

    *the only thing I remember definitively about that one is that Hitler refers to the crying secretary as a lesbian.

  30. 30
    ellaesther says:

    Oh, and I just called Rep. Danny Davis’s office again to say that in the wake of the State of the Union address, I want to continue to encourage him to keep working on what I know he wants to see done, and that is passing the Senate version of the bill.

  31. 31
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    I was hoping that Obama would outline a clear plan towards wrapping up HCR that could rally Congress to finish the job and move on

    Me too. Apparently his plan is still “do nothing and hope for the best”.

  32. 32
    Trevor B says:

    Just talked to Max Baucus aide, she said he is not for reconcilliation, I think he is saying this just to make sure the house passes his bill. Jon Tester aide said he is for any and all HCR so I suspect he is a yes even for the house bill. Didn’t sound like either had been getting many support calls.

  33. 33
    Ann Marie says:

    I had called my Senators last week, but I called Casey’s office again today. I got a voice mail system message that his mailbox is full. I hope that’s a good sign and he’s getting a lot of calls to support health care reform, but who knows.

  34. 34

    @Trevor B:

    Just talked to Max Baucus aide, she said he is not for reconcilliation

    Well if that’s true, it appears that may be the end of it.

  35. 35
    bob h says:

    I wish Obama had made two more points about HCR last night:

    1. It is quite popular when poll respondents are made aware of the things actually in the bill (the familiar Kaiser poll)

    2. For all the talk about budgets, getting them under control long-term depends on what we do about HCR.

    When do we start seeing the full-page ads from AARP, AMA, Hospitals Associations, et. al., pointing out that letting this die is just unacceptable? Or is everybody intimidated by that jackass from Mass. and his Teabagger friends.

  36. 36
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    @bob h:

    Also it would be easier to create jobs if businesses could share the burden of providing health coverage with the government.

  37. 37
    Jester says:


    Ah, Bribery. Is there anything you can’t fix?

    I’ve been wondering if there is a way to get organised about this whole bribery thing. We live in a capitalist paradise after all, maybe we should make our political system pay-for-performance.

    get a bunch of people to commit to making a donation based directly on the way a senator votes on a given question. Then call the senator and say ‘we are 500 potential donors here that wants you to vote yes on HCR. do so and 10k will be contributed to your campaign fund next week’ and see if that gets more traction.

    Liberals are never going to match the foaming-at-the-mouth outrage of the tea-baggers, so I just don’t see us making enough progress by simply voicing our opinions to our senators.

  38. 38
    JoyceH says:

    I called Warner’s office. He’s still ‘no position’ and I couldn’t get the staffer to indicate which way he would go. I gave him an even-voiced but fairly stern dressing down. I’ve met Warner a few times, even interviewed him once when he was running for governor, and mentioned that. And gave my perspective that we elected Warner, he went to Washington and became invisible. We have no idea what he’s doing and what’s he’s for or against. And that I would like him to change that by coming out strongly in favor of fixing the Senate bill via reconciliation so the House can pass it.

    There was dead silence when I described Warner as invisible, so I hope that stung a bit. I’ve always liked Warner, feel like he pretty much resurrected the Democratic Party in Virginia back in his party chair days, but dang, that was a long time ago.

  39. 39
    Snowshoe says:

    I tried to call both senators, but Dick Durbin’s office is “experiencing high call volume” and suggests I try back later. The Burris staffer said that he was in favor of the Senate bill, but would have to see any changes before he committed to voting for them. I said what I was hoping was that he would commit to making *some* changes via reconciliation, without necessarily specifying them, so the House would have cover to pass the Senate bill. She said she would pass my comments along.

  40. 40

    I got the same answer from Mikulski’s office as growingdaisies and Marc did (no position on reconciliation), but unlike them, I got the ‘no position’ comment from Cardin’s office.

    And I just got off the phone a few minutes ago. So I’m not sure WTF is up, there.

    And I thought Hoyer had come out publicly for passing the Senate bill, the day after Coakley lost, but I could be wrong.

  41. 41
    feral1 says:

    Got the same no position on reconciliation from Mikulski. Told aide, no money, no vote, no volunteering for any Democrat if healthcare doesn’t pass.

  42. 42
    Jay B. says:


    Besides being 100% wrong, what else do you have?

  43. 43
    Walkest says:

    Called Dodd’s office through the switchboard. Asked the question listed on the whipcount, got a “no prepared statement at this time”. I said that getting the bill passed was the most important thing but that getting additional fixes through reconciliation was vitally important; I further hoped that since he’s retiring and should have less electoral pressure, he will feel more free to do the right thing of passing the additional fixes through reconciliation.

    Just got off the phone with my rep Jim Himes’ office and registered my support for his support of PTDB, and further stated that I’m trying to pressure our senators (HAHA Lieberman, yeah) to commit to passing additional fixes through reconciliation. The staffer asked and I gave him my name and town.

    I’m gonna try calling Holy Joe in a few minutes, once I can suppress the bile. >.<

  44. 44

    Called Kirk and Kennedy. Kirk is essentially pointless, given the ascension of our next solon, (R-Playgirl), but his office said, yeah, of course.

    Kerry is a yes — though his idea of what needs to be fixed through reconciliation is, I think, narrower than mine (no sweetheart deals, on his part — much more on mine.)

    But all in all: no surprises.

  45. 45
    mcc says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Hoyer definitely did make some positive comments about the Senate bill but I don’t think he committed to anything.

    (ps, spreadsheet updated)

  46. 46
    Walkest says:

    Just called Lieberman, got a “no prepared statement” from his office as well. Registered my strong support for passing supplemental fixes through reconciliation, with my stated reason that Americans are bankrupted and are dying for lack of healthcare reform; if the House knows that the Senate will pass supplementary fixes through reconciliation, we will be far closer to actually helping people.

    I wish we could swap Dodd and Lieberman’s terms so as to boot Lieberman to the curb this very year while keeping Dodd till 2012.

  47. 47
    KDP says:

    Called Boxer’s office. Spoke with a very nice staffer who affirmed that Senator Boxer has been a strong supporter of either House or Senate and of the public option. No public statement re: reconciliation per se.

    Feinstein’s office. Again, she supports HCR, has voted for HCR and is not involved in reconciliation negotiations, and has not expressly stated that she will support whatever reconciliation bill has come forward.

    @williamc: I did specifically mention that I thought reconciliation should include nonprofits in the organizations that can take advantage of the national exchanges.

    Both staffers stated they would pass on my comments. And, I really need to write myself a script. I keep stumbling over my own tongue and feel ineffectual in my conversations with these folks.

  48. 48
    KDP says:

    Called Stark’s office again, still no commitment one way or the other.

  49. 49

    Since I didn’t see a whip count thread today (Friday), I hope you don’t mind my using this one to note the outcomes of my PTDB calls to Sens. Mikulski and Cardin.

    Sen. Mikulski’s position is even worse than yesterday: while she still has no position on reconciliation, she wants time for deliberation, according to the person who answered the phone.

    Time is our enemy, and I said as much to the person taking my message. This needs to be done quickly.

    And, contrary to the experiences of some others here, the response I’m still getting from Cardin’s office (as of about 3pm today) is that he has no position yet on reconciliation.

    Fuck fuckity fuck. They’ll be hearing from me again on Monday.

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