Gang of Six Takes Two Weeks Off

by: Chris Bowers

Fri Aug 21, 2009 at 11:22


The Senate health care Gang of Six (Republican Senators Mike Enzi (WY), Olympia Snowe (ME), Charles Grassley (IA) and Democratic Senators Max Baucus (MT), Kent Conrad (ND) and Jeff Bingaman (NM)) promised to redouble their efforts on health care last night.  Then, they promptly decided to take two weeks off:

Senate health-care negotiators agreed late Thursday to ignore the increasingly strident rhetoric from Republican and Democratic leaders and to keep working toward a bill that can win broad support from the rank-and-file in both parties, according to sources familiar with the talks.

In a conference call, the three Democratic and three Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee agreed to redouble their efforts to craft a less costly alternative to the trillion-dollar initiatives so far put forward in Congress. They discussed the possibility of also reining in the scope of their package, the sources said.

The senators rejected the idea of imposing a deadline on their negotiations, and they agreed to talk again Sept. 4 -- four days before lawmakers are scheduled to return to Washington from their August break. The consensus, one participant said, was "to take your time to get it right."

Today is August 21st. The call was held yesterday, on August 20th. If the next meeting of this group is on September 4th, that means they promised to take 15 days off, or slightly more than two weeks, before their next round of negotiations. And by negotiations, I assume they mean the next time they decide to hold a conference call about when to hold their next conference call.

Of course, taking another fifteen days off is already a huge victory for Republicans and others opposing health care reform. The longer the bill takes, the lower President Obama's approval ratings will drop. Approval for the overall health care effort will also probably continue to slide.

As such, it is clear that by "take your time to get it right," what the committee actually meant was kill health care reform altogether.  Which is really all this committee has ever been about.

Chris Bowers :: Gang of Six Takes Two Weeks Off

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Yes, it's all (4.00 / 3)
about insurance compnay money for those 6.

The best think to come out of all of this is the Progressive Caucus 65.  We are finally building an inside/outside movement.

And Progressive pushbakc against Obama is necessary both for progressives and for Obama.  The blue dogs do not have the people.


Speaking of not having the people .. (4.00 / 1)
I just checked Facebook to see how many supporters a number of different politicos had(I know it doesn't tell all .. but still) and here is each Senator(or House member) and their "supporters" on Facebook(as of 12PM ET today):

Bernie Sanders     5,877
Russ Feingold     13,865
Dennis Kucinich   34,647
Gene Taylor          751
Mike Ross            904
Chuck Grassley     1,265
Max Baucus      no page listed
Kent Conrad     no page listed
Mike Enzi            781
Evan Bayh          7,886

So as you can see, some interesting numbers there.


[ Parent ]
This use of Trillions (4.00 / 4)
may just drive me insane.

The cost of these plans is about 100 Billion a year, less than we spend in Iraq, and about 15% on Defense.  No one talks about the over SIX TRILLION Dollar defense budget, even though the CBO estimates project precisely that over the next 10 years.

The fact that number is being used suggests to me not to trust these negotiations.


Um. Don't Look Now, But That Would Be The Public Option... (4.00 / 3)
Senate health-care negotiators agreed late Thursday to ignore the increasingly strident rhetoric from Republican and Democratic leaders and to keep working toward a bill that can win broad support from the rank-and-file in both parties, according to sources familiar with the talks.

Survey USA says the 86% of Democrats say it's "extremely" (61%) or "quite" (25%) important, while 71% of Republicans say it's "extremely" (58%) or "quite" (13%) important.

Details, details.  Facts, schmacts.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3


That's just the people, Pablo. (0.00 / 0)
They don't win elections, draw big donations from K Street, or write laws.

Canon fodder, brudda...


[ Parent ]
And btw: Jeff Bingaman's Dead To Me. (0.00 / 0)
Embarrassment doesn't even touch it.

That's at least two blue-dawgs out of our five seats, and I'm not sure about either Marty Heinrich or Tom Udall.

the only reputable Dim in the NM delegation is Ben Ray Lujan. He and my brother went to high school together.


[ Parent ]
Heinrich is a DLCer. (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
So what can be done to bypass the SFC? (0.00 / 0)
Can the House bill be brought directly to the floor without going through committees?  

John McCain won't insure children

Yes, I wonder about that, too. (4.00 / 1)
Will Democrats in the house and Senate just sit back for two weeks while these six Senators destroy the electoral prospects of the rest of their Democratic colleagues? I understand that Enzi and Grassley are stalling just to hurt Democrats. But why should Reid, Pelosi, and everyone else stand aside while Baucus and Conrad screw the Democratic party for a generation?

ec=-8.50 soc=-8.41   (3,967 Watts)

[ Parent ]
the SFC doesn't have any say on what the house does, yes? (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
I think they did that with the Declaration of War in 1941 (0.00 / 0)
I cannot think of an instance with equal significance by which unanimity could be assumed.

 


[ Parent ]
When will Obama realize he's being punk'd by Baucus, et al? (0.00 / 0)
It's one thing to negotiate continuously, even indefinitely. It's another to deliberately stall and hold off on negotiating. That holds the process hostage, especially if the media have anointed the Senate Finance Committee as the arbiter of what is possible. Curious if Obama and Rahm will realize they're being punk'd and do something concrete to retaliate? This is blatant disrespect. As noted, clearly it hurts Dems, Obama, and the cause of health care reform.

Hmm... (0.00 / 0)
Why would Obama hire former Baucus staffer and famous corporate bumlicker Jim Messina (h/t Sirota)? Or Rahm, heavyweight supporter of Blue Dogs and bane of progressives in primaries?

Hmm...


[ Parent ]
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