Open Mic For HCR

I don’t have any answers for you guys. My heart tells me that Steve Benen has it right. HCR will die quietly on some back burner while everyone involved declares that they’re determined to get it done. You guys have done more good that I could have hoped by even keeping the issue this long, considering how eager Democrats all the way up to Barney Frank seemed to run away from HCR like a hot fuel rod after the Coakley defeat. There was a tangible shift in momentum after that awful first day or two where you could clearly see House Democrats in particular start speaking about the issue with a sense of urgency again. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that you guys had something to do with that.

However, I’m concerned that Rahm is either winning the internal White House debate, or he’s winning it by default by getting his side covered in the press every day.

Mr. Emanuel said he believed it was still possible for lawmakers to pass the far-reaching overhaul Mr. Obama wants, though he did not offer procedural specifics. But he said he expected Congress to move on Mr. Obama’s economic agenda — a jobs bill, a deficit reduction measure and a financial regulatory overhaul — before returning to the health measure.

Steve had it right. Go slow means don’t go at all. The idea that Dems will rally together three months further into campaign season is crazy.

Readers like you have reported that a huge number of House Democrats might commit to passing the House bill, but they need some leadership from the White House, especially if the only plan for Senate reciprocation is hope. Obama provided nothing in his State of the Union in that regard. He gave no cover for PTDB in the House to PTDB, in fact fact he transmitted no sense of urgency at all. If HCR dies Obama’s happy address will provide a textbook case of the Benen model. It concerns me that in a vacuum of leadership from Obama himself, these Rahm drippings will carry more weight than will any combination of citizen calls.

But maybe I’m wrong! Maybe pressure from you and me will move 218 Congressmen to pass the Senate bill before it dies of neglect. Maybe positive noises from Kent Conrad and David Axelrod signal that the double-plus win scenario of Senate bill plus reconciliation fixes could still happen.

I’m not convinced. The fragile mental state of Democrats like Max Baucus puts any progress in the Senate at the mercy of even one Republican willing to negotiate in what looks like good faith, then back out of the deal, then demand more concessions, then keep everyone at the table for a few more months, and then get cold feet again. To get 50 votes we need Baucus, Pryor, Lincoln and Jim Webb and Mark Warner and several others, yet these guys will certainly jump for months at any meager bait that Olympia Snowe chooses to dangle.

What to do now? Can we motivate enough House members to pass the Senate bill when the White House won’t cover their ass? I don’t know. Share your thoughts in the comments. If you work in DC and would rather communicate privately, email me and let me know what you have heard.

Regardless of what you do, this by Corner Stone qualifies for Comment of the Month.

I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere but I’m wondering something. What if everyone who called their Rep during this crisis actually kept calling them? Not to chastise but to “check in” so to speak. Once a month (or maybe twcie or whatever) just call in, ask to speak to the same legislative aide (or lower level phone answerer or whoever you eventually get a hold of) and just let them know you’re paying attention and want the Rep to know you’re rooting for them (or whatever chummy message or not so chummy message is appropriate – whatever).
The point being – when a real crisis comes through like HCR, or education bills, etc a big handful of people will have a recognized pipeline into their Reps’ office.
“Hey Timmy it’s Bill Johnson, how are you today? Yeah that’s great. Listen, about this whole education bill HR666 coming up for a vote…how is Rep. Tightshorts going to vote on it? Yeah, I know it’s tough. Remember my grandson we talked about? Yeah. He’s a perfect example of who could be helped, who could have his whole life changed by this.”
Anyway, why let this drop and be a one-and-done?

Indeed. Make it so.

53 replies
  1. 1
    NobodySpecial says:

    As I’ve mentioned on other forums I lurk at, I’m more optimistic than most that Pelosi will pass the Senate bill whenever she chooses the moment to put it on the calendar. If they wait until after the jobs bill, she can put it out and avoid a lot more ink about it, and House Dems can wave it as a ‘we did it!’ flag for the general elections.

  2. 2
    JenJen says:

    Watching Boehner on MTP this morning, it sure doesn’t seem like the Republicans are convinced HCR is dead. In fact, the GOP seems to be pivoting toward a “The Dems are gonna ram this through” posture. If anything, they seem to be coming off of their Scott Brown sugar-high to me.

  3. 3
    cleek says:

    What if everyone who called their Rep during this crisis actually kept calling them?

    i have no doubt there are many people who do that. and i’m sure the staffers sigh and roll their eyes every time the caller ID tells them it’s Mr. %PETCAUSE% again.

  4. 4
    JoyceH says:

    I want to talk up my own hobbyhorse, and that is for Democrats and liberals to call their reps, even if those reps are Republican.

    I might be wrong, but the sense I get from blogs and news stories is that conservatives with a Democratic representative are always calling them and giving them hell. But liberals with a Republican representative don’t call, on an ‘oh, what’s the use?’ theory.

    So the Democrats are always getting battered while the Republicans float around in their own little bubble of approval, never hearing from anyone who disagrees with them and certain that means that everyone agrees with them. No wonder Republicans think we’re a ‘majority conservative nation’! No wonder Democrats secretly worry that it really is.

    I don’t think calling a Republican office holder and letting them know you’re in favor of a liberal policy is going to change their vote. But at least let’s pierce that smug bubble of self-assurance. Let them know we exist. There’s a lot of psychological impetus to a certainty, however mistaken, that the whole world is on your side. Take that away from them.

  5. 5
    Violet says:


    Probably depends on your Representative’s office and how they function. I’m getting to talk to people up the food chain now that I’ve been a squeaky wheel.

    Also, after calling every day and talking to the same intern, I’m becoming friendly with him and am getting a bit more info out of him. Calling regularly does work to a certain extent.

    I think there’s a level of trust involved. If you’re a one or two-time caller, they just politely take down your info and that’s it. If you call regularly, they get to know you, realize you’re not some crazy nutjob, and actually start to engage you and discuss what’s going on. I have no idea if constituents of the second type carry more weight than the one-call type, but I’m hopeful that they may as I’ve now become one of them!

  6. 6
    Bob K says:

    @ JenJen

    Watching Boehner on MTP this morning, it sure doesn’t seem like the Republicans are convinced HCR is dead.

    I think they are waiting for an official Time of Death declaration so they can pop the cork on some Dom Perignon and celebrate Obamas’ Waterloo.

    The GOP seems to be pivoting toward a “The Dems are gonna ram this through” posture.

    Considering the bastards are voting “No” on everything they see with a (D) next to it, I wish the Dems WOULD ram every piece of legislation through that they can. Bipartisanship is a sign of weakness in wing nut world – It’s “Our Way or the Highway” as far as they are concerned.

  7. 7

    Yes indeedy to this. I’ve called Barney Frank’s office a couple of times so far, and have moved into an email exchange w. his health care LA.

    I’ve been slower to follow up on my senators — only one call each in the last couple of weeks to Kerry and Kirk. I’ll be calling Brown’s office a lot when he gets sworn in, just for giggles.

    Lastly, even though I know Tim does not agree with this — I’ve been keeping up a semi steady set of contacts w. the White House. Tim’s view is that the WH, with its 300 million or so constituents, is much less sensitive to individual communications, and I’m sure that’s so. But real human beings do answer the comment line, take notes and pass them up. It seems to me worthwhile to engage those folks as much as possible, if only to ensure that Plouffe and Axelrod don’t have to admit to Rahm that calls are running overwhelmingly in the wrong direction.

    I’m probably naive, and I certainly agree with Tim that this is the last call you make, not the first, but if you’ve got the time, I think it’s worth doing.

    Contact details for the WH:

  8. 8
    Violet says:


    Agreed. I hear a lot of “why bother” from people who have Republican Reps. Imagine if EVERYONE who disagreed with their Republican Rep phoned to tell them so. That might have an effect of some sort.

    Obviously not everyone will call, but if even a fraction do it might help the Republican realize that they have other types of constituents out there.

    Besides, we pay their salaries. Might as well make ourselves heard.

  9. 9
    asdf says:

    I try to keep up but I have no idea what this package of health care reform contains. Seems like we are not getting much. I’d take a little over nothing, if I had my druthers, but even then, or especially then, I’d like to know what I’d be getting.

  10. 10
    Jackie says:

    Update from Friday.Congressman Lipinski IL 3 will not vote for the senate bill. The three reasons stated are the excise tax, the bribe pork, and of course he really, really liked that stupak language so so much better. He’s so pro life he’ll let 40,000 post born people die every year. So don’t forget to harass your senators.

    And don’t forget to call your republican folks and ask why they are playing party politics instead of trying to get things done for you. They don’t like it. They shouldn’t get to live in their bubble all the time. Can’t hurt to make them wonder if people are starting to notice.

  11. 11

    Not to give false hope, Tim, but the LA Times has somewhat of a different story playing today:

    Democrats quietly working to resuscitate healthcare overhaul

    An interesting quote:

    They are meeting almost daily to plot legislative moves while gently persuading skittish rank-and-file lawmakers to back a sweeping bill.

    This effort is deliberately being undertaken quietly as Democrats work to focus attention on more-popular initiatives to bring down unemployment, which the president said was a priority in his State of the Union address on Wednesday.

    Many have concluded that the only hope for resuscitating the healthcare legislation is to push the issue off the front page and give lawmakers time to work out a new compromise and shift public perception of the bill.

    So we’ll see where it goes. I’m optimistic that something will get passed, although not entirely sold that the Senate will use reconciliation. I’d like to see it, though.

    But yes, Corner Stone’s comment is appropriate. Lawmakers absolutely take notice of constituent calls because they feel like they have to be responsive. The phone calls in favor of reform give them plenty of cover, so keep ’em coming.

  12. 12

    Ugh…block quote fail above. Should’ve blocked through “…public perception of the bill.”

  13. 13
    change we can believe in, my ass says:

    Congress can refuse to pass HRC, but their fecklessness needs to be pointed out to them, in a loud voice.

    They will have defeated a not-perfect bill which still

    would have gotten the reform process started

    saved money now and down the line



    If Congress doesn’t pass it, it will cost them: they will rightfully be seen as weak and ineffectual

    If they do pass it, they will have passed an extremely important and beneficial piece of legislation. They can campaign on that.


    Obama campaigned on Americans’ right to health care.

    He needs to change his behavior and keep his important promise.

  14. 14
    danimal says:

    @Adam Collyer: I hope this is right and the Dems are just settling things in back rooms while throwing shiny objects for the Republicans to chase. It’s a good strategy if they’re doing it, but we are talking about the congressional Dems here, so color me skeptical.
    I am still likely to sit it out this year if the Dems don’t get this done. There really is no excuse. And if they are losing me, there are a lot of folks already gone.

  15. 15

    I’m not convinced finance regulation reform isn’t more important. We have a lot of chainsaws being juggled. We have to get a working health system built, but global finance has to be talked down from a state where the monopoly money is worth hundreds of times more than all the resources in the world. That’s a recipe for catastrophe that’s got arguably more severe realworld consequences than lack of health care, though it’s more a matter of degree.

    Listening to CPR ‘The Giant Pool of Money’ which might have me biased :)

  16. 16
    cat48 says:

    Tim F.

    I read an article about Reconciliation at the New Republic, at Cohn’s blog, The Treatment. It was written by someone familiar with the procedure & it would not be a matter of one quick vote in the Senate. Evidently they have to go to mark-ups in Committees again, etc. Amendments could be added & voted on. It basically could take a long time to pass and there are ways to deliberately delay it for the Repugs to use even w/Recon.

    I think that might be part of the delay. Didn’t the Senate aides say they were researching or something? Maybe they are trying to figure out how long it would take. The problem is nothing is fast in the Senate. It is ridiculous!

  17. 17
    Chad S says:

    Keep up the scare for sure, but just because there’s no public statements doesn’t mean that nothing is going on:

  18. 18
    JoyceH says:


    Imagine if EVERYONE who disagreed with their Republican Rep phoned to tell them so. That might have an effect of some sort.

    Exactly! And it seems to me that conservatives are such callers that it creates the impression that there are a lot more of them than there really are.

    And another thing to consider is who’s having fun at their job! I get the sense that these days, it’s just more fun to be a Republican officeholder than a Democratic officeholder. It’s a lot easier and more fun to go to work and continue doing the things you’re doing if all you hear is how great you’re doing.

    We want people to WANT to run for office as Democrats, and stay enthusiastic about the work once they get there. I’m not saying don’t criticize a Democratic rep, or push them on particular issues. But if they’re the only ones getting beaten up by their constituents, geez, no wonder they’re getting so jumpy. Let’s lambaste the other side to even things out.

  19. 19


    I certainly understand the frustration you feel, because I feel it too. But don’t let that frustration get the better of you.

    I’m a bit more moderate, so my frustration maybe isn’t as pronounced, but I have had this conversation recently with my dad, a dyed in the wool hardcore liberal. This Congress has, as pointed out in an earlier thread, accomplished a significant amount. They have failed thus far on healthcare, and it has caused a real public relations problem.

    But even if you don’t buy that Congress has accomplished something of significance this year (a debate I’m willing to have, but as a side note), realize that while Democrats may be spineless, you’re allowing the alternative a shot at power by sitting out. And honestly, the alternative isn’t spineless, but they are reckless and extreme. And demonstrably worse.

  20. 20
    Jackie says:

    @asdf: We’re getting alot more than nothing.

    Young adults can stay on their parents policy for a few more years while they are in school or not. They have time to find a real job with benefits.

    Alot more people get access to medicaid. Those are the people who can’t afford anything right now, their only option in most places is the er and getting their credit ruined because they can’t in any way pay that bill. It also runs up your insurance because you pay for that really expensive care they default on.

    The details are complicated but people in the single market will have access to an exchange. In effect they form a group. That is a huge difference in cost.

    If the insurance company can’t turn you down with a preexisting condition than a mistake in disclosure will not get you rescinded. If they try to play that game anyway they have the burden of proof not you. Lawyers tell me thats a big difference. If you develop a preexisting condition and have no access to a group plan you are well and truly screwed now unless Bill Gates is your daddy. If your group plan is a small one you so screw up that tiny risk pool that a fair number of those businesses find a way to fire you. This can render you both unemployed and unemployable except at a large company or the government. Your next small risk pool will find a way to ditch you too. If the bill only did this it would be well worth supporting. The price for this is the dreaded mandate. No one like being told what to do but there it is.

  21. 21
    CalD says:

    I’m so tired of Steve Benen.

  22. 22
    mclaren says:

    Surely it was obvious that HCR was dead months and months and months ago. Wasn’t it?

    I mean, c’mon, folks. First they had to get the blue dogs on board, then there were negotiations with the “moderate” sounding republicans, then the blue dogs backed off, then we had more concessions, then more negotations with the “moderate” sounding republicans, then it all fell apart, then more concession, more negotiations…

    Please. It was obvious from the git-go that this thing was never going to get done. After a year of wrangling and hassle and hair-tearing and heart-rending sob stories and frenzied debate, what do we get? Maybe a bill that might have to go to reconciliation where the republicans will first bait-and-switch (as usual) and the back off once again and so the whole thing goes to negotations and concession and more promises and more people backing away from what they said before, and it all just goes on and on and on and on and on, never ending, ever lengthening, and it’s obviously bullshit.

    Remember when you were a kid?

    Remember when you asked your mom if you could do something you knew you were never going to be allowed to do, and she said “We’ll talk about it”?

    Yeah. This is the grown-up version of “We’ll talk about it.”

    Wake up, people. America has outsourced all its jobs overseas. There are only a handful of high-paying professions left in America — doctors, lawyers, and FIRE…Finance, Insurance and Real Estate. Well, finance is flat on its back after the global financial meltdown, real estate is dead for a generation after the subprime meltdown, and so that leaves exactly one high-paying profession left in America that you don’t have to go through 7 years of college and run up a quarter million dollars in debt to get into.

    And you people really think Obama and any congress are going to gut the income of that last high-paying profession left in America by passing health care reform that slashes those sweet sweet sweet premiums that pay for the homes and cars and childrens’ education for all those millions people employed by the health insurance industry?

    Please. Get real.

  23. 23
    BTD says:

    Tim F.:

    Since the beginning of this discussion last week, I have expressed the view that without a fix of the excise tax through reconciliation, the Senate bill could not pass the House. the underlying basis of my view is that labor would be implacable on this point and the House Dems simply were not going to buck Labor on this.

    I think that is still true. Thus, I believe whipping the House Dems is futile (indeed, in my view, unnecessary, their requirements for passage are fairly clear I think) without whipping the Senate.

    In addition, I think you are wrong when you write:

    “To get 50 votes we need Baucus, Pryor, Lincoln and Jim Webb and Mark Warner and several others . . .”

    We need 50, and among those 50 we will probably need Baucus, Webb and Warner. But we will not get Lincoln, she has said so, and probably not Pryor.

    I think you lose Lincoln, Landrieu, Lieberman, Bayh, Ben Nelson (despite his noises, though I hope I am wrong), and possibly Byrd.

    I believe the remaining 53 can be kept in the fold. But even if all of them can not be kept, you can still lose 3. This is doable.

    But if it isn’t, no amount of whipping the House Dems will get them to vote for the Senate bill stand alone. It simply will not happen.

  24. 24
    BTD says:


    I have not read the articles you mentioned, but my understanding is different.

    For the reconciliation process, a bill need only be submitted to the Budget Committee, and in fact it is not susceptible to amendment – merely an up or down vote.

    The original idea actually was to “reconcile” the HELP and Finance Committee bills on health care – to wit, put them together. And vote them out.

    Since the Senate has already passed a bill, and the reconciliation bill would be a minor modification, most likely the Senate leadership will have hammered out the fixes, turn those fixes into a bill and have the Budget Committee vote it out and then to the floor.

    But it is even easier than that, the Senate leadership could just take a pending reconciliation bill, amend it, and put it to a vote of the full Senate.

  25. 25
    windshouter says:

    Health care reform being dead and health care reform on the verge of a deal I think will look very much the same. It is in no elected official’s interest to show they are behind a deal until the deal has been made. A congressman always has to look like they are ready to walk away because as a safe vote, no one listens to you. This is also true for inter-house negotiations. You’ll never have the votes until the moment you take the vote.

    One danger sign for health care reform is a plausible plan to not pass the bill and recover politically. The only idea so far is to pass the bill in chunks, but this has gotten no traction at all. Once the idea was floated, several people have shot it down and no one has picked it up. (The Republicans should have made a counter offer here to stop the bill, but you do need funding to expand Medicaid).

    It’s interesting that progressives are dumping on the bill more than moderates, who should be the most scared of the midterms if HCR was more toxic than no bill. I still take this as a good sign.

  26. 26
    CalD says:

    It HCR dies, which I tend to doubt BTW but we’ll see, it will be because the pragmatically possible was held hostage to the utopian/infantile (take your pick) demands of both the left and the right. The whiners will be every bit as much to blame as the screamers. Tell Steve Benen to put that in his pipe and smoke it.

  27. 27
    minachica says:

    Jon Cohn seems to think Rahm could be floating a trial balloon to see if gets shot down. If so, his last paragraph points out the importance of continuing to call:

    By the way, the point of trial balloons is to see whether they get shot down. So it might behoove liberals who want health care reform to make clear that lengthy delay is not acceptable. For a few days earlier this week, members of Congress were reportedly getting calls from constituents, urging them to “pass the bill.” More of those calls might be helpful.

  28. 28
    cat48 says:


    I hope your correct. The Senate just seems to work so slowly to me. All the different rules and all.

    I think health care is still alive because an interview w/Larry Summers by Fareed Zakaria is on now. He’s talking about health care in a positive way, defending it as a matter of fact.

  29. 29
    Chad S says:

    @cat48: The GOP could delay, but the President of the Senate could directly set all the rules for the debate(and debate on amendments would be limited to 20 hours automatically).

  30. 30
    matoko_chan says:

    I think HCR is a done deal

    Harkin said “we had an agreement, with the House, the White House and the Senate. We sent it to [the Congressional Budget Office] to get scored and then Tuesday happened and we didn’t get it back.” He said negotiators had an agreement in hand on Friday, Jan. 15. Harkin made clear that negotiators had reached a final deal on the entire bill, not just the excise plans, which had been reported the previous day, Jan. 14.

    ….and Obama is just offerring the “conservatives” a graceful climb-down for the good of the country.
    He could go reconciliation right now……or he could allow the “conservatives” to filibuster like they filibustered civil rights for 57 days.
    He is giving them a little time to see how ridiculous they will look in either option…an to see they are powerless to stop it.

  31. 31
    BTD says:


    Consider how the Senate bill became the Senate bill.

    Harry Reid substituted his bill for an already passed House bill that was before the Senate and then put the bill to a vote.

  32. 32
    matoko_chan says:

    I think that is why the outreach to the GOP… allow them to buy in before it is too late.
    Consider the woeful damage filibustering civil rights did to the GOP.
    If there are any sane “conservatives” they will recognize Obama is tossing them a demographic lifeline.
    But there may not be any sane “conservatives” left…..

  33. 33
    FoxinSocks says:

    I called my Senators today and am trying to ‘check in’ every week to remind them that I haven’t forgotten about health care reform. I’ve told them quite bluntly that if they don’t get it done, they won’t have my vote, money, or my time (I volunteer). Doubt it’ll do any good, but I’ll keep at it.

    Also, every time I get a fundraising request, I politely inform them that they won’t see a single cent from me until they pass the damn bill.

  34. 34
    Lolis says:

    I have called my rep numerous times and just tell the staff to pass the Senate bill and if they get changes great, if not, the billl is worth passing.

    I have called Sens Cornyn and Hutchison over many things. If you want to have fun call your Republican senators and ask why they voted against PAYGO when they talk so much about responsible government spending. Neither staff member could give me any explanation for the vote. It was fun. I always act like I am a supporter who is just shocked that my senator would not do the right thing.

  35. 35
    Toni says:

    I don’t think it is dead at all. In some ways it is actually in a better position. When the dems had 60 votes, some of the netroots were saying “kill the Senate bill”, others were saying “Kill everything and start over”,the unions were saying they want the house bill,and most of the house members wouldn’t entertain the house bill at all. Now there are still some in the last group but that number is dwindling as they come down from “the hills” and the reality that they still have the largest majorities in many years and they will lose it if they don’t get stuff done sets in. The overwhelming consensus even from many in the “Kill bill” camp is “Pass the Senate bill with a fix”.

  36. 36
    Fitzwili says:

    Hi I had emailed this earlier- but I wanted to see what everyone here thought about this proposal:
    What do you think about crowdsourcing to gather info about each senator in order to make the calls more focused- sort of like a crib sheet.
    It hopefully would result in something like this.
    Senator X:
    •Deficit peacock
    •Says he/she is against reconcilation but voted Y times using reconcilation
    •Has ? number of uninsured in state
    •Has ? amount of contributions by insurance industry
    • some hypocrisy/scandal surrounding their current healthcare stance( ex. Leiberman,Nelson)
    • any local knowledge that could prove helpful- for example-Senator X loves any intiative surrounding small businesses

    Etc etc

    What do you think- could BJ commenters to do their own states?

  37. 37
    asdf says:

    Thank you, Jackie. I made a copy of your post. Really, this is hard to keep up with.

  38. 38
    Why oh why says:

    Watching Boehner on MTP this morning, it sure doesn’t seem like the Republicans are convinced HCR is dead.

    If HCR doesn’t pass, Republicans will never stop running against it.

    “Remember the death panels and Medicare cuts Democrats wanted? We stopped that!!!”

  39. 39
    Violet says:

    This sounds like it could be useful. Sadly, I’m afraid I don’t have any details like that about my Senators. /bad citizen

    Perhaps others could offer stuff. If we could come up with a few bullet points like that – simple Q&A – then people could just fill in the blanks and we could put it up in a spreadsheet form. Might be very helpful when calling one’s Senators.

  40. 40
    mai naem says:

    @Why oh why: They are going to run against whatever the dems do on healthcare, even if it’s nothing. You just have to do what you have to do. Look, you still will have a Dem. prez next year and it’s highly unlikely that the Dems will lose both houses so chances are that they will hold the balance of power. So you pass a good bill that people can see results in by 2012 and, oh yeah, polish up your PR machine.

  41. 41
    Kelly says:

    I used to walk past trash on my favorite trails and riverbanks. Now I pack a few trash bags and gather it up. I don’t expect the litterbugs to notice and start packing out their own trash. I’ll always have to pick it up. I feel good walking out with a full trash bag. I found when I called the local office my local Blue Dog (Kurt Schrader) a couple of times on this I’ve a similar good feeling. I’ll keep calling.

  42. 42
    Peter J says:

    I doubt that “If you kill it, they will come” is a good slogan, nor do I think that it killing it is the way to victory. But it seems enough congress critters do.

  43. 43
    Karoli says:

    Conventional wisdom applies in conventional circumstances. What we have here is unconventional circumstance, and the sure knowledge that failure to pass the package with or without reconciliation is suicide for the Democrats.

    HCR will pass, and it will pass in a form that will frustrate firebaggers to no end, while frustrating teabaggers even more. FACT: If Dems pass HCR (and soon), the GOP odds for re-election drop substantially.

    As for Congress, well…I am starting to think every incumbent Senator but a few should be tossed out. They are far too entrenched and believe they’re ‘entitled’. They read their own tea leaves without regard to any sense of reality on the ground. While the House works their asses off to put together legislation that looks and feels like what the White House wants, the Senate harumphs and hems, takes a few vacations and complains that they’re working too hard.

    The pivot to jobs takes the heat off HCR. That doesn’t mean they’re not working on it; it just gives the press harpies something else to spin badly while they work on getting it done. Jonathan Cohn’s TNR piece today is likely the best estimate of where it is: on the 2-yard line with a timeout called for a few minutes.

  44. 44
  45. 45
    Phaedrus says:

    Hey, why do you guys expect everything to be done at once? Obama has been in office for barely a year and you expect miracles! He’s promised health care and is working on it – give the guy a break.

    Watching the total freak out on this blog over the authors’ pet project, as compared to the condescending shit they feed people who have similar concerns about different issues (civil rights, war crimes, rule of law, gay rights, transparency) has been enlightening. The way things are going, Obama is going to defacto pardon war criminals and bless their crimes with bipartisan approval. If the president wants he can have a citizen detained, imprisoned and even killed – all without any judicial review… but let’s hit the phones for that legislative give-away to the insurance industry.

    Why do you hate America so much?

  46. 46
    Panurge says:

    @mclaren: OK, suppose we “get real”. THEN WHAT?

  47. 47
    schaudenfraud says:

    Might not be the best way, but I figure if direct action could get the President to even dismissively answer a question about marijuana legalization, why not submit questions about encouraging the house to pass the Senate bill to OFA. They’re having an OFA question / answer session on 2/4/2010.

    I think the house can make their own pressure on the senate by passing the house bill, and if possible, passing a fix through reconciliation as quickly as possible. Make the senate’s vote the law of the land, and then put the pressure on them to vote to make the popular fixes to their own bill. (Basically… what Bernstein says in his blog..)

    Here’s the question I sent to OFA…
    “Time has not been the ally of health reform. The house is one vote from sending comprehensive health reform to your desk. Since they’ve already passed a new jobs bill, and financial regulation reform, why shouldn’t the house pass the senate HCR bill now?”

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    mclaren says:

    Panurge cringed like a born slave, and whined:

    OK, suppose we “get real”. THEN WHAT

    Fill the streets. Fill the halls of congress. Block traffic. Lie down in the hallways of every Washington D.C. government office and prevent them from functioning.

    Form mobs outside congress chanting WE WANT HEALTH CARE REFORM AND WE WANT IT N*O*W!

    And when the capitol police beat you, someone else will take your place. And when they call out the National Guard and start shooting demonstrators, their brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers will rush out to join the demonstrations, and the national protests will get bigger.

    You don’t get reform by crawling and begging and pleading to millionaires, whimpering please, please, pretty please don’t brutalize us quite as much. You get reform by putting the fear of hell into them.

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    cleek says:

    nobody cares about Rahm.

    you’re zoomed in about 20x farther than 99% of the people in this country.

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    Tim F. says:

    @cleek: That reminds me of a Doonesbury strip from 2002.

    Iraqi bureaucrat to Roland Hedley: “Is it true that only 13% of American kids can find Iraq on a map?”

    Hedley in reply: “Yeah, but all 13% are marines.”

    The 99% who don’t know Rahm’s name matter not a whit as long as the remaining .01% have a vote in Congress. Want to guess what percentage of Representatives whose votes we need care quite a bit what Rahm thinks? 80%?

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    cleek says:

    i’d put money on the idea that the majority of those people think Rahm is a loudmouthed fool.

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    harrythehop says:

    I know right now we’re just trying to get the bill passed, but why not remind our reps that using reconciliation is an opportunity to improve the bill?

    Besides everything that was going to be fixed in the planned compromise anyway, plus removing the Nebraska bribe, theres the Medicare Buy-in that has 51 votes in Senate. Same with Public Option. And both are popular(the medicare buy-in wildly so).

    Alternately, why not just pass the bill and let the then let the Republican’s filibuster the corrections? Does the Republican party really want ads encouraging people to ask why they’re fighting to keep the Nebraska bribe?

    I don’t know how feasible wither of these would be, but it might be helpful to put some ideas into the heads of congressional staffers.

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