Democrats Float Ideas On Future Of Health Reform
News outlets are reporting on the Democrats' mulling what to do about health reform legislation.
Politico: "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" (Frates, 1/22)
The Associated Press: "A senior Democratic aide said Saturday that House and Senate leaders are considering changes to the Senate bill that could make it acceptable to the House. Under one scenario, Democratic senators would make the agreed-upon fixes using a special budget procedure that requires only 51 votes to overcome Republican delaying tactics. The House would then pass the Senate bill, sending it to Obama for his signature and allowing the health care remake to become law."
"But the aide, who described the discussions on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said no decisions have been made. The strategy would be politically risky because it would enrage Republicans, and the legislation itself lacks strong public support" (Werner, 1/23).
Los Angeles Times: "Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill, struggling to figure out how to resuscitate their stalled healthcare overhaul, are looking to move away from the politically explosive issue and turn to other legislation -- especially efforts to stimulate job growth. That could put off any formal debate of healthcare legislation for weeks, if not longer, senior lawmakers and Democratic officials said Friday.".
"Speaking with reporters after a meeting of Democratic lawmakers at the Capitol, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), one of the lead architects of the healthcare legislation, called for 'a breather.' House Democrats, most of whom returned to their districts Thursday, suspended healthcare strategizing on Friday" (Levey, 1/23).
The Hill: "Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a member of the leadership team, said deciding on the process should not take long. 'That doesn't mean we're going to sit here and twiddle our thumbs for weeks and weeks and weeks, but it'll take a few days to figure out what the best solution is,' he said."
"Obama has yet to make a strong public case for what he thinks the Congress should do next, beyond signaling a day after the special election that a smaller measure might be doable. But the message from the White House has been mixed as the president's senior aides maintain he still wants to sign major healthcare reform legislation" (Young, 1/23).