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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Health Care Reform Postponed Indefinitely

The House Energy and Commerce Committee cancelled a scheduled "mark up" today.

A key House committee on Tuesday indefinitely postponed voting on health care reform legislation, after Democratic leaders were unable to line up enough votes from moderate members of their own party.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee canceled the session as it faced serious concerns about the legislation from fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, who hold a large number of seats on the panel. The Energy and Commerce Committee is the only House panel with jurisdiction over health care that has not completed writing its version of the reform bill.

Mark up is when a bill is written in earnest, amendments are voted on, and the bill is then voted in during Committee. This process has not only been postponed, but postponed "INDEFINITELY". This particular committee holds a significant number of Blue Dogs. It appears their concerns mean that there are simply not enough votes to pass this out of committee. That indicates that the Blue Dogs are NOT on board. That this has been postponed INDEFINITELY means that all parties are nowhere near an agreement.

This means any hope of passing health care reform (know called insurance reform by the president) by the August recess is over. This puts health care reform in dire trouble. Now, health care reform is dependent on tangible evidence that the economy is recovering.

The first potential for tangible evidence is the July job's numbers on August 7th. Of course, it could be a death blow. If July's numbers are worse than June's (477,000 in June), then you can bet that President Obama's fading approval numbers will fade to critical levels. At that point, this sweeping reform becomes a non starter until his numbers improve. When that would happen is anyone's guess.

Ultimately, I stand by my prediction. If July's numbers are worse than June's then the president won't pass any of his reforms until after the November 2010 elections.


Anonymous said...

I believe Obama is summoning some Dems to the WH this afternoon. Where I'm sure Rahm will make it clear that they vote for the legislation or expect no DNC money and primary challengers when next up for election.


mike volpe said...

True, but this is postponed INDEFINITELY. That means that no agreement is imminent. This is not good p.r. This wouldn't be announced if they weren't sure.

Anonymous said...

There has been a growing movement among the Democratic base that if they band together to vote down any reform that doesn't include a public option then the President will have no choice but to crack down on the Blue Dogs. The reasoning is that Obama and the Blue Dogs are the only ones under any real threat of electoral defeat since the rest of the House members have relatively safe districts. Thus, if no reform passes, it won't be their careers on the line. And since to them no reform at all is better than no public option they don't think they have anything to lose.

Realistically, crushing the Blue Dogs is the only choice Obama has. He was elected to govern like a liberal and no amount of "moderation" or "bipartisanship" is going to stop his opponents from accusing him of Communism or even questioning the legitimacy of his freaking birth certificate.

Besides, its like what you and Gateway said, there are no such things as Blue Dogs, right?

mike volpe said...

Gateway said that not me. I firmly believe that there are Blue Dogs and they are flexing their muscles now. I have a much less cynical view of the Blue Dogs than most conservative blogger.

sweets said...

oh It's really too late.