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Archive for October, 2009

Wrap Up of the Week of Oct. 26th

October 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Both the House and the Senate unveiled the House and Senate health care bills this week.  Both have negotiated rate public options but the Senate adds an opt out provision for the states.

Meanwhile, in the Senate, they’re still working on the Unemployment Benefits Extension bill, but they’ve been passing cloture votes with ease.  We’ll see if they can pass the bill today.

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House Health Care Reform bill to Come with Negotiated Rate Public Option

October 29, 2009 Leave a comment

In a disappointing turn of events, Speaker Pelosi is set to unveil the House version of the health care reform bill with a Negotiated Rate Public Option instead of the Medicare + 5 public option.  The whip count revealed 47 No votes with another 8 leaning No, but there were some who are listed as No who in actuality are Yes votes like Rep. Loretta Sanchez and Rep. Harman, both Blue Dogs but who support the Medicare + 5 Public Option.  By choosing the negotiated rate public option, the bill will be $85 billion dollars more expensive:

The negotiated rates plan is estimated to cost about $85 billion more than the Medicare-based reimbursements. To cut the number of uninsured without surpassing the $900 billion limit set by Obama, the bill will expand eligibility for the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor. The bill will also include an income surtax on the wealthy to pay much of the cost of the plan.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus will head to the White House to press their case to President Obama.  Still as compromises go, it’s not the end of the world, but the CPC should definitely try to exact concessions to keep their support for the bill.

House Unable to Clinch 218 Just Yet as They Near Unveiling of House Health Care Reform Bill

October 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Preliminary reports of the House achieving a 218 whip threshold may have been too optimistic with reports coming in that they are still shy of reaching the all important 218 number for a  Medicare + 5 public option.  TPM reports the House is experiencing more potential No votes than anticipated and are still working on whipping the caucus to achieve this goal.  Open Left’s Chris Bowers suggests the House is within “striking distance” of the Medicare + 5 public option from what he’s hearing from his sources, but if the push fails, the House may fall back to a negotiated rate public option similar to the Senate proposal but without an opt out.

Meanwhile, the Hill reports the House is “days if not hours away” from unveiling the House health care reform bill that will be debated on the House floor.  House leaders say they want to debate the bill next week and promised a 72 hour public review time for the bill.  The biggest question mark for the bill is what form of public option will they unveil with the bill with liberal advocates hoping for the consumer friendly Medicare + 5 public option to be chosen, but even if it is, will there be enough votes for it?  One thing is certain, President Obama needs to help the House whip the caucus and achieve true health care reform for the American people.  As one House progressive said to Plum Line,

“Only leadership and the White House can get this done,” this progressive says. The time would appear to be now…

LIEEEBERRRRRRRRMAAAAAAAAAAN!!!!!!

October 27, 2009 1 comment

No doubt that was similar to the primal scream many in the netroots made when Lieberman announced today that he might filibuster the health care reform bill contradicting reports made yesterday he was “inclined” to vote for cloture.  Lieberman said to the Huffington Post,

“I do want to make clear, because at least one publication got this wrong,” he said. “What I said this morning and what I’ve said to Senator Reid is that I’m inclined to vote for cloture on the motion to proceed to a debate on health care reform, because I believe we need to have a debate on health care reform and I hope to be in a position to vote yes on health care reform. But, I’ve also said that if the current proposal remains as it is unamended, before the final vote on the floor, that I will not vote for cloture.”

The Democratic Leadership should tell Sen. Lieberman there would be consequences to voting against cloture.  The people of Connecticut, who will decide if Lieberman is to be re-elected in 2012, will also be disappointed if he follows through with his threat.

Week to Election Day: 3 Races to Watch

October 27, 2009 2 comments

Next Tuesday will be Election Day, and there’s three hotly contested races to watch for political junkies: NY-23, Virginia, and New Jersey.

NY-23

Democrat Bill Owens, Republican Dede Scozzafava, and Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman are all battling for this ancestrally Republican district.  This district hasn’t elected a Democrat since before the Civil War, and yet, Bill Owens has a chance because of the vote splitting between Scozzafava and Hoffman.  Wingnuts think Scozzafava is too moderate for their tastes, and Hoffman is constantly reminding them of her non-wingnutty views.  But, the race remains close with the latest Research 2000 poll giving Owens a slight lead at 35%, Scozzafava at 30%, and Hoffman at 23%.

Virginia

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Don’t really want to talk about this race.  Creigh Deeds is still trailing Republican Bob McDonnell.  McDonnell hates working moms though.

New Jersey

Now here’s a race I like. Republican Chris Christie’s once solid lead has gone bust and is now in a tie with incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine.  The Governor has the big mo in this race according to the polls, and the Democratic Party’s brightest stars are lending their hands to help re-elect the Governor.  Last week, VP Biden, former President Bill Clinton, and President Obama all visited the Garden State with President Obama visiting the state yet again this week to rally support.  Chris Christie has been especially hurt because of his openness to let the greedy insurance industry drop preventive mammogram coverage in New Jersey.

Go Corzine!!!

Leader Reid Adds Opt Out Public Option in Senate Health Care Reform Bill

October 26, 2009 Leave a comment

Bit late on the news, but I just want to put up the video.  I’m ecstatic.  Go Reid!!!

UPDATE: Will update Senate vote count soon.  Baucus and Webb announce they won’t filibuster.

UPDATE 2: Updated Senate Vote Count.  Snowe didn’t announce she will filibuster only that she was “disappointed” with Majority Leader Reid and where Snowe goes, Collins will follow.  Awaiting announcements from Lincoln, Nelson of Nebraska, Landrieu, Conrad, Lieberman, and Bayh.

UPDATE 3: Behind the Scenes Look: “How Reid Found his Silver Bullet”

UPDATE 4: Landrieu and Lieberman both say they are “not inclined” to filibuster.

This Week in the Senate

October 26, 2009 Leave a comment

The Senate wants to pass two major bills this week including the Unemployment Insurance Extension Act and the  Commerce/Justice/Science Appropriations bill.  The Unemployment Insurance Extension Act extends unemployment benefits some more and is a much needed bill because of the state of the economy.  Republicans will no doubt try to stall this bill like they do every other bill.   No wonder the Republicans have an abysmal 36% approval rating, exactly the same approval rating they had back during the end of the Bush Administration days.

The Commerce/Justice/Science Appropriations was stalled a couple of weeks ago, but hopefully, they can get that done this week.  Also this week, we should get the first details of the health care reform bill that Leader Reid is crafting from the two Senate committee bills.  Some disturbing news came out over the weekend about the White House’s nonchalant attitude towards the public option, but a response later came from the White House reiterating Obama’s commitment to the public option.  However, actions speak louder than words, Mr. President.  It’s time the President get more involved and help with the public option and the vote count.