Democrats Talk Of Moving Reform Bill Without Republicans, Plan Rallies
Democrats are preparing to move ahead without Republicans on health care reform, a leading House Democrat said Monday, The Hill reports.
"'I think that at some point everyone's going to see that the Republicans simply are not going to agree to any kind of healthcare reform that the insurance industry isn't supporting and that, reluctantly, we're going to have to do it without them,' said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)."
According to The Hill, "(l)iberal groups around the country have been frustrated with efforts by some Senate Democrats to craft a bipartisan bill through negotiations among six members of the Senate Finance Committee. They've worried those discussions will needlessly water down a bill, and that the party that holds the White House and large majorities in the House and Senate should be able to pass healthcare on the backs of their own members."
Meanwhile, some Senate Democratic leaders are considering breaking up the sweeping healthcare reform measure "into smaller pieces in part to get bipartisan support for less-controversial provisions and potentially build momentum for the heavier lifting. Doing so also could allow them to invoke special budget rules that would require only 51 votes to move more controversial provisions, such as the public health insurance option" (Allen, 8/24).
Related KHN story: Dems Strategy To Avoid Filibuster Carries Serious Risks
And the Democrats' struggle to gain public support continues, Politico reports. "Faced with a souring public mood on health care reform, Democrats and their supporters are launching a national grassroots push Wednesday to show lawmakers that the majority of Americans still support overhauling the system. Reform supporters are planning to hold more than 500 events between Wednesday and when lawmakers return to Washington Sept. 8, ranging from neighborhood organized phone banks to professionally staffed rallies with hundreds of people" (Frates, 8/24).
A large number of Democrats are staying away from raucous town halls, Politico reports in a second story. "Only 17 of the 58 Democratic senators - less than a third - were holding town halls back home, according to an informal POLITICO survey of every Democratic office in Congress. The proportions were similar across the Capitol. Among 263 Democrats in the House, 91 were holding public forums for constituents - just over a third. However, that figure may be higher, since POLITICO did not hear back from 67 House Democrats and could not determine through local media reports whether they had held any town hall events in their districts" (Phillips, 8/24).
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Lousiana Democrat, shows the balance many are trying to strike between party and centrist values to get elected in typically conservative places, The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports: "Yet when she returns to Capitol Hill from the August recess, Landrieu could end up being a deciding vote that could put her at odds with her party leaders and President Barack Obama, depending on what Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid brings to the floor. The third-term senator also could have to choose sides between business and labor, competing lobbies that backed her 2008 re-election bid but take different postures on some major health care policy questions. Landrieu said she 'reserves her options' on any floor votes" (Barrow, 8/24).