Democrats in the House are now trying to decide what their next step should be with regard to health care reform. The main options under discussion seem to be:
- Hold their noses, pass the Senate’s bill, and move on to the next agenda item. (This would require liberal Democrats to hold their noses very, very tightly.)
- Pass the Senate’s bill and then pass a separate bill, through the budget-reconciliation process, that fixes the parts that the House finds most obnoxious. (This would require some assurance from Senate Democrats that they’d actually take action on the separate bill. Such assurance is not currently forthcoming.)
- Break health care reform into several smaller bills and pass those bills separately. (Each of those bills would then have to go to the Senate, which would have to pass a motion to introduce the bill, a motion to end debate on the bill, and a motion to end debate on putting the bill to a final vote; each of those motions could be filibustered and even if they got 60 votes for cloture, Senate rules allow 30 hours of debate on each motion. The people who are proposing this route either have a truly cunning plan or are on crack.)
- η Pass a bill that’s even weaker than what the House and Senate have passed in the hope that at least one Republican can be persuaded to vote for cloture on it. (AAARRGHH!)
The longer they dither about this, the worse the party looks and the greater the chance that everyone will just walk away from the issue and hope the Republicans don’t make mincemeat out of them in the fall. I would say that the need to take some action, on both political and policy grounds, is so blindingly obvious that a rational politician shouldn’t need encouragement, but—sigh—we’re dealing with Democrats here. I would say that politicans who are so committed to acting like losers don’t deserve to win elections, but even if they deserve that consequence, the country doesn’t.
So if you vote in the United States and your district is represented by a Democrat in the House, please call your Representative today and let him or her know where you stand. The House switchboard is (202) 224-3121.