Monday, October 05, 2009

Assurances [UPDATED]
Ezra Klein says the Finance Committee will certainly vote yes for the health reform bill tomorrow, even though, of the 14 Senators we even have a chance of getting (13 Democrats plus Snowe), 6 of them have reason to vote no instead.
From what I hear, there are no real swing votes. There are senators who, for tactical or political reasons, might vote against the bill. But the people I talk to don't believe there is a single Democrat on the committee who would actually imperil the legislation's chances. Anyone whose vote is needed will vote for the bill. But if the bill is going to pass comfortably, you might see Snowe withhold her vote to strengthen her negotiating position on the floor of the Senate, or Lincoln hold back because she's worried about her political standing in Arkansas, or Wyden hold back because he's genuinely unimpressed with the legislation and infuriated at how he's been treated.
I dunno. Sounds like we may have a game of chicken among Democrats as to who most needs the freedom to vote no. Hopefully, they won't take it so far there's a train wreck. Say what you will about the Baucus bill - yeah, it's not very good. But if a bill doesn't get out of Finance, there won't be a bill. I have the most sympathy for Wyden. His ideas to unhinge insurance from employment and open the exchange (with public option) to all Americans are probably a better way to go than where we are headed.

The truth is, though, the process is simply not moving in that direction. We need him to suck it up, both in committee and on the final bill. When you've done as much as he has to develop a different, probably better, plan that is now on the scrap heap, that has to sting, but it's got to be done.

[UPDATE: Oh delayed for a week.]

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