Showing posts with label Reid/Pelosi to fight for HCR through RECONCILIATION. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Reid/Pelosi to fight for HCR through RECONCILIATION. Show all posts

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi Work Over Weekend

to Save HCR


By: Chris Frates


Struggling to salvage health reform, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have begun considering a list of changes to the Senate bill in hopes of making it acceptable to liberal House members, according to sources familiar with the situation.

The changes could be included in separate legislation that, if passed, would pave the way for House approval of the Senate bill — a move that would preserve President Barack Obama's vision of a sweeping health reform plan.

But the move comes with political risk, because it would open Democrats up to charges that they pressed ahead with roughly the same health care bill that voters appeared to reject in the Massachusetts Senate race Tuesday. Republican Scott Brown won on a pledge to try to block Obama-style health reform.

The effort also puts Reid and Pelosi on the side of giving a sweeping reform bill one more try, instead of adopting a course being floated by some Democrats in Congress and at the White House of adopting a scaled-back bill including popular reform provisions.

The changes are being worked on this weekend with plans for Pelosi to present them to her caucus next week, according to sources familiar with the situation. But, sources stressed, neither Reid nor Pelosi know if this strategy can win the support of their members, but they are attempting it because it is the quickest path to passage.

Earlier this week, Pelosi said she did not have the votes to pass the Senate bill unchanged through the House. And Reid, who lost his 60-vote majority Tuesday, does not have the votes to make wholesale changes to legislation his chamber passed last month.

So, leaders are considering making limited changes that can be passed using a budget process called reconciliation, which only requires 51 votes in the Senate.

The changes being considered track closely with the agreements House and Senate leaders made in White House meetings last week, according to a source. They include the deal with labor unions to ease the tax on high-end insurance plans, additional Medicare cuts and taxes, the elimination of a special Medicaid funding deal for Nebraska and a move to help cover the gap in seniors' prescription-drug coverage. Pelosi is also working to change the Senate provision that sets up state insurance exchanges. The House prefers a single, national exchange.

Reid spokesman Jim Manley declined to comment on whether a list of changes was being drawn up.

"We have still not decided what we are going to do," Manley said. "We remain confident we will pass health reform this year. We are working with the White House and the House to identify our options for doing so. We anticipate further conversations with the administration, the House and our caucus."

Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami said, "Discussions are ongoing, and options are being examined on the best way to move ahead on health insurance reform, but no final decisions have been made. It is premature to conclude anything except that staff is continuing to work on various options."

There is great uncertainty around both the politics and policy of the reconciliation strategy. Under the budget reconciliation process, the bill's changes would have to be germane to the budget, so there is a real question about how many of the proposed tweaks could be included.

Politically, Democrats, shell-shocked from Tuesday's election, may be wary of using procedural maneuvers to pass the bill in place before Brown's election, which cost Democrats their 60-seat majority.

Some Democrats have viewed the election results as a sign that their party should change direction and scale back its ambitions, not move ahead on the same course.

But progressive groups and leading labor unions are pushing their Democratic allies not to shy from the fight, but to push ahead with the bill that was just days from possible passage before Brown's election. These groups have rejected the idea of passing a scaled-back bill.

Also, a Democratic source defended reconciliation as a legitimate legislative tool used in the past by both Democrats and Republicans. For instance, President George W. Bush's 2003 tax cuts were passed with 51 votes.

Carrie Budoff Brown and Patrick O'Connor contributed to this report.

B4B NOTE: Great to hear that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are in meetings right now (this weekend) working on a Plan to pass HCR through RECONCILIATION (which we have been screaming for for months) ! Also encouraging to hear that Pelosi is pushing for a single, NATIONAL EXCHANGE (that's a strong Public Option !!!) Things to keep in mind: First of all...The "We Need 60-Votes" was ALWAYS A LIE !!!! Also, keep in mind that the insurance cartel wants/needs some kind of health care plan PASSED...they WANT THE MANDATE !!! Stocks had SERIOUS drop this past week. Now they'll be lobbying (bribing) FOR HCR to PASS ! WE MUST FIGHT and steer for a good, strong, affordable, accessible Plan. Get ready for a good, productive FIGHT !

Be Inspired...Be Informed...
Be Involved...BE STRONG !!!

51 Votes...Get It Done !

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