The Backstories Of Politicians Scrambling On Health Legislation
News outlets feature the backstories of lawmakers wrapped up in the health overhaul legislation.
Politico: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has kept his legislative strategy for the health overhaul under wraps, even from his closest lieutenants. "As Reid works furiously to line up the 60 votes he needs for the most sweeping health care bill in generations, the majority leader is playing an insider's insider's game. He's having private, one-on-one conversations with colleagues, and he's not sharing the contents with others. He's floating proposals to congressional budget analysts that not even members of his leadership team have seen. And he's keeping his strategy largely to himself" (Raju, 12/18).
The (New Orleans) Times Picayune: "This may be remembered as the week that Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., became the unabashed voice for Democratic health care overhaul. All of a sudden, it seems, the third-term Louisiana senator, who only last month waited until the final hours to announce whether she would provide a pivotal vote to allow debate on the landmark legislation to proceed, has become one of its biggest boosters." On Wednesday, she said on MSNBC's "Hardball" that Democrats were on the verge of enacting historic legislation and now was not the time for Democrats to "get weak-kneed" (Tilove, 12/17).
The New York Times: "If there were any doubts that Senator Olympia J. Snowe of Maine has earned a special place in the hearts of Democrats ... just consider how she spent her Thursday: First she attended a meeting at the White House for roughly 80 to 90 minutes, a good portion of it one-on-one with President Obama. Later, she and Mr. Obama had a half-hour follow-up call. By any measure, that is a substantial chunk of the president's day." But, it remains unclear whether Snowe will help the Senate pass the final bill (Pear and Herszenhorn, 12/17).
The Washington Post reports on Democratic anger about a perceived turnabout by Rep. Larry Kissell, D-N.C. "Fueled by the liberal grass roots, Democrat Larry Kissell [of North Carolina] stitched together a winning message about jobs and kitchen-table concerns, including rising health insurance costs, and he rode the Obama wave to unseat a five-term GOP congressman by 11 percentage points. Democrats here rejoiced."
Now, the Post writes, "Kissell is siding with Republicans on Obama's top domestic priority, fixing the nation's health insurance system ... As they plunge into next year's midterm contests, Republicans and Democrats are making dicey calculations with their health-care votes, each weighing the demands of their party's base against the political climates of their districts" (Rucker, 12/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.