Political Ripples Of Overhaul Remain Uncertain
Lawmakers received mixed receptions at home after last week's vote, and speculation continues to swirl about how the health overhaul will play out in November's midterm elections.
The New York Times: "Around the country this weekend, members of Congress found a bewildering crosscurrent of political forces awaiting them, on-the-ground evidence of how the issue has divided the country by party, race and region." For instance, Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga., was praised by white voters for his vote against the legislation, and "assailed" by black voters, who make up 44 percent of his district. He said, "I hope all of you know that I ended up voting against a lot of the things I believe in" (Nagourney, 3/28).
The Washington Post: "After steering the landmark health-care reform bill through Congress, the Democratic Party's leaders have emerged mostly unscathed, according to a new Washington Post poll, but they have not received a notable boost in approval ratings." While President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's approval ratings climbed slightly, the public's view of the Democratic Party remained unchanged. So did views on Congress dim at just 24 percent approval. The telephone poll was conducted March 23-26 using a random sample of 1,000 adults contacted by cell phone or conventional telephone (Agiesta and Cohen, 3/29).
Politico: Meanwhile, "In the days after the House signed landmark health care legislation, the 34 Democrats who voted against the measure were targets of sharp criticism within their own party, with organized labor and liberal groups promising to punish them by withdrawing support or worse, running primary election challengers against them." But, because of issues with financing, timing and electoral process, its unlikely that any of those 34 Democrats will confront a serious intra-party challenge (Isenstadt, 3/29).
USA Today: Views on what the overhaul will mean in November appear to conflict, depending on who's asked. "Democrats and Republicans said Sunday that they are confident the new health care law will help them in the November congressional elections once voters understand it better" (Jackson, 3/29).