Pelosi Defends Agreement With Blue Dogs While Movement Continues On Health Overhaul Efforts
Concessions made yesterday to House centrists have put Democratic leaders on edge, CQ Politics reports. "Some Democratic liberals have objected to the concessions made by House leaders and Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry A. Waxman , D-Calif., to four panel Blue Dogs who were among seven threatening to torpedo the bill." The objections put the majority leader, Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the defensive. "No, I don't think there is any disproportionate influence when members speak out in favor of their own constituents," she said of the Blue Dogs (7/30).
Pelosi had signed on to the deal with Blue Dogs earlier Thursday, "potentially paving the way for a new consensus among the fractured House majority," according to CNN. The network also reports that Pelosi told reporters "she is OK with language instructing the health and human services secretary to negotiate reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals under a government-run health care option" adding that "the provision is 'not my preference,' but 'it meets the test of having an effective public option,' Pelosi said" (7/30).
The compromise plan being negotiated in the Senate Finance Committee is likely to do away with the public plan idea altogether, replacing it with health care cooperatives. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., a Finance Committee member, is pushing back, Politico reports. In a statement, he writes, "a strong public plan option in health reform legislation is a must" (Smith, 7/30).
The Energy and Commerce Committee reconvened Thursday to continue work on the bill, the Wall Street Journal reports. Though Congress won't vote until after the August recess -- another part of the arrangement with Blue Dogs -- "Democrats [in both houses] are likely to avoid their worst-case scenario -- a breakdown of talks before the August recess. But they are still far from agreement on the final contours of the legislation" (Hitt and Adamy, 7/30).
Bloomberg: Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., "[o]ne of three Republican senators working on bipartisan health-care legislation said he won't agree to a plan before the Senate adjourns next week, setting back the measure's progress even as it advanced in the House" (Litvan and Jensen, 7/30).
Associated Press: Despite attempts at compromise in the Finance Committee, the Senate's top Republican maintained a tough tone, saying, "Some in Congress seem to be in such a rush to pass just any reform, rather than the right reform, that they're looking everywhere for the money to pay for it, even if it means sticking it to seniors with cuts to Medicare" (Alonso-Zaldivar and Werner, 7/30).