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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Democrats send up white flag on health care.

H/T to Taylor Marsh for the title of this piece..word for word, because every once in a while we just have to give them one so they can honestly say they were "right" about the "refrain from the right."

It is ironic that after months of setting arbitrary timelines on the passage of Obamacare, we now see Harry Reid declaring "There is no rush," on getting Obamacare care passed.

The New York Times titles their piece "Democrats Put Lower Priority on Health Bill."

With no clear path forward on major health care legislation, Democratic leaders in Congress effectively slammed the brakes on President Obama’s top domestic priority on Tuesday, saying they no longer felt pressure to move quickly on a health bill after eight months of setting deadlines and missing them.

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, deflected questions about health care. “We’re not on health care now,” Mr. Reid said. “We’ve talked a lot about it in the past.”

He added, “There is no rush,” and noted that Congress still had most of this year to work on the health bills passed in 2009 by the Senate and the House.

Mr. Reid said he and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, were working to map out a way to complete a health care overhaul in coming months.

“There are a number of options being discussed,” he said, emphasizing “procedural aspects” of the issue.

Now, one of those procedural aspects could include reconciliation, where the House would approve the version of Obamacare that the Senate passed, then make changes using reconciliation, where the Senate Democrats would only need 51 votes.

A couple problems with that scenario is that by using procedural tricks such as that, they would open the door to Republicans, giving them a few options as well using the procedural rules connected to reconciliation.

The GOP Senate leadership has privately settled on a strategy to derail health reform if Dems try to pass the Senate bill with a fix through reconciliation, aides say: Unleash an endless stream of amendments designed to stall for time and to force Dems to take untenable votes.

The aide described the planned GOP strategy as a “free for all of amendments,” vowing Dems would face “a mountain of amendments so politically toxic they’ll make the first health debate look like a post office naming.”

Senator Judd Gregg is getting some attention today because he vowed to make it an “extraordinarily difficult exercise” for Dems to pass the Senate bill through the House while getting the Senate to fix the bill with a “sidecar” through reconciliation.

I asked a senior GOP Senate aide to explain the game plan for making this an “extraordinarily difficult exercise.” He said the leadership — Senators Mitch McConnell, Jon Kyl, Lamar Alexander, etc. — are discussing how to exploit the fact that the reconciliation process allows for an “open-ended amendment process.”

That means there’s no limit on the number of amendments GOPers can offer, the aide said, or on their subject matter. A senior Democratic aide confirmed that this is the case — and that it’s a concern weighing on Dems.

“If you bring a reconciliation bill to the Senate, it’s a free for all of amendments,” the GOP aide said, cautioning that this was only part of the overall strategy. “There is no way to limit the number of amendments that are voted on. You can’t close debate. Democrats will have to vote on every politically perilous amendment that you can possibly think of.”

Considering the toxic atmosphere, politically, for Democrats in the upcoming November elections, that would be suicide and most of them know it as evidenced by certain Democrats stating clearing they will "oppose reconciliation".

"I am opposed to and will fight against any attempts to push through changes to the Senate health insurance reform legislation by using budget reconciliation tactics that would allow the Senate to pass a package of changes to our original bill with 51 votes," Lincoln said in a statement on Tuesday. "I have successfully fought for transparency throughout Senate deliberations on health care, and I will continue to do so."

"I will not accept any last-minute efforts to force changes to health insurance reform issues through budget reconciliation, and neither will Arkansans. We have worked too long and too hard on this reform effort - we need to get it right," she said.

Lincoln faces the same problem many House and Senate Democrats do right now.. they are trailing behind their Republican challengers for the upcoming election in November and are not willing to commit political suicide to satisfy Reid, Pelosi and Obama's agenda.

The New York Times breaks the rest of the bad news for far left progressives:

Some Democrats said they did not expect any action on health care legislation until late February at the earliest.

But the Democrats stand to lose momentum, and every day closer to the November election could reduce their chances of passing a far-reaching bill.

Where does this leave Democratic leadership at this moment?

At "war" with each other, according to The Politico:

Pelosi and her allies are mad at Obama, Representative Dina Titus (D-Nev.)says Democrats are "fucked" if they ignore the lesson of Massachusetts, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.)calls the Senate a "House of Lords", out of touch with the people, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.)says the Senate is "broken" and Reid declares he has some choice comments about the House.

Everyone is busy pointing their fingers at someone else and laying blame for the collapse of Obamacare.

I did save the best for last though.

Representative Marion Berry (D-AR), who has recently announced he is retiring, warned Obama of the public backlash against Democrats and likening it to the major losses Democrats suffered in 1994, and Obama, being the egotistical megalomaniac that he is and believing his own hype actually had the nerve to tell Berry, "Well, the big difference here and in ’94 was you’ve got me."

Berry now says "We’re going to see how much difference that makes now."

This will not be the last we hear about healthcare reform aka Obamacare, I am sure, but the closer to November we get, the less likely we are to see many of the vulnerable Democrats willing to jump of the Obamacare cliff.

This country needs healthcare reform, no doubt there, but all the Democrats have offered to date is a way to reform the system into socialized medicine, not a way to fix the system currently costing so much.