Appearing this weekend on Fox News Sunday, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said
that he thinks health care reform will be "the law of the land" by next
Sunday. Since President Obama began the journey over a year ago, reform
legislation has endured a hundred or more deaths and rebirths
. Never has the White House seemed so sure of its passage. Indeed, the legislative gears are already turning
. But with House Democrats warning they still don't have all the votes assembled and Obama heading
to Ohio to root out "yes" votes, the end game is unclear. Here's what they could do.
- Why So Optimistic? The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza gives two possibilities.
"[I]t's not entirely clear yet whether Democratic optimism is born out
of a knowledge that the votes will be there for health care or rather
an attempt to build some sort of momentum behind the legislation." If
it's the latter, the strategy of legislating by optimism could be a
- This Is All On House Dems Now The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn explains
that, with the Senate bill already passed, it's up to the House to
approve or make changes. "If the House did nothing but pass that bill,
and the president signed it, we'd have a new health care system. But,
of course, the House wants to do something else, too. It wants to tweak
the subsidies and taxes in the Senate bill, while removing some of the
infamous deals Senate leadership made back in the fall. To do that, the
House has to pass a set of amendments, which must then go back to the
Senate for approval in that chamber."
- Political Quid Pro Quo The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny compares
the big push for health care reform, heavily funded on both sides, to
"the ferocity of a presidential campaign." The White House, interest
groups and grassroots groups are targeting the "swing Democrats" in the
House who could save or kill reform. "The White House has signaled to
lawmakers that assistance for midterm elections -- for example,
presidential visits and fund-raisers -- will be prioritized for those
who support the bill."
- Dems' Crazy 'Contingency' Plans The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn warily reports
that, beyond the "'Schoolhouse Rock' Option" that looks like the
comfortably familiar legislative process, Dems are considering two
"contingency plans" that veer on the crazy. These include a process of
"deeming" the Senate bill passed in the House rather than actually
voting on it. "As I've said before, that seems utterly pointless to me.
Come November, the distinction between voting for a bill directly and
voting for a bill indirectly, via 'deeming,' isn't going to make much
- No 'Absurd' Strategies, Just Pass It The Washington Post's Ezra Klein waves off
the convoluted, "absurd" legislative strategies. He says House and
Senate Democrats should put their differences behind them and just get
this bill out the door. "Delaying victory hasn't served the Democrats
well thus far, and it's not likely to be a good idea now. It's time to
stop being clever and pass this bill."
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