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As the House of Representatives heads into its month-long August recess, the news reports are telling us that support for health care reform is beginning to fade. Between the various polls, support now seems to be at around 50 percent. But on OpenCongress, only 12 percent of people say they support the bill. What can this discrepancy tell us about the energy political activist will put into their August efforts, and how will effect the final vote?

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This Week in Congress: Senate Wrap-Up

August 3, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The House of Representatives has already left Washington for their month-long August recess, but the Senate is in session for one more week. Before they leave for their recess on Friday, the Senate will hold a tough debate on the future of the cash for clunkers program, try to make some crucial progress on health care legislation, and confirm Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the United States Supreme Court.

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Big Deal?

July 31, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The AP this morning is reporting that liberals, Blue Dogs and every Democrat in between on the E&C Committee have struck a deal on the health care bill. Essentially, the Blue Dogs get to keep the concession they won earlier in the week requiring the government to negotiate rates for their public insurance option directly with private companies. The main thing liberals and moderates in the Energy and Commerce Committee seem to have won today is an agreement to restore subsidies to low income households for buying health insurance. With this deal in place, the committee is expected to pass the bill later this afternoon.

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The Progressive Health Care Bloc

July 30, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The fact of the matter is that when you shift the legislation over to the right to satisfy conservatives, you lose liberal votes on the left. In this case, the deal Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Rep. Henry Waxman [D, CA-30] Democrat brokered with the Blue Dogs appears to be losing more votes for the bill than it has gained. The deal is designed to satisfy the 40 Blue Dogs who outlined their concerns with the bill in a letter three weeks ago. We know that only 4 of the 7 Blue Dogs on the E&C Committee agreed to the deal, so it's likely that outside of the committee, the deal would win the support of, say, 30 Blue Dogs.

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Democrats Strike a Health Care Deal

July 29, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

As you've probably heard by now, the Blue Dog Democrats that have been delaying progress on the health care bill (H.R. 3200) for two weeks straight have finally struck a deal with the Democratic leadership and are allowing the bill to move forward. The bill has been blocked in the House Energy and Commerce Committee by seven Blue Dogs with a list of 10 objections, some of which go to the heart of the legislation's key proposals. Today's deal will allow the committee mark-up to go forward and the bill to pass out of committee.

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This Week in Congress: Crunch Time

July 27, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Today begins the House of Representatives' final week in session before they are scheduled to leave for a five-week recess. They have a full legislative floor schedule set out in front of them, but this week in the House is really going to be about just one thing: health care reform. Click through for more on what's up with health care, as well as the House's complete legislative schedule for this week.

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Drama

July 24, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I don't know if anyone is still bothering to follow the emotional roller coaster that is the health care negotiations in the House, but for what it's worth, The Hill is now reporting that talks are back on track: Hours after calling their chairman a liar, Blue Dogs on the Energy and Commerce Committee stood by that chairman’s side and announced together that the once-collapsed healthcare negotiations are back on track. “The chairman and I would like to retract some of the things that we sai...

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A Breakthrough? UPDATE: Nope.

July 24, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I was just going to post on this piece from The Hill about how Rep. Henry Waxman [D, CA-30] is preparing to skip his committee's faltering markup of the health care bill and bring the bill straight to a vote by the full House. But, now in my RSS reader, I'm seeing this piece from CQ - "House Leaders Say They’ve Met Concerns of Dissident Democrats":

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Submit Your Health Care Bill Comments

July 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Now that the leadership in both the Senate and the House are pushing back their time lines until September for voting on health care, the period for public comment and review of the legislation on OpenCongres is extended too. Here are some of the public comments on the bill so far rated most useful by OpenCongress users. If you haven't done so yet, please add your own comments.

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The Health Care Bill

July 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

I was just looking through our Google Analytics account and noticed that a significant amount of people searching for "health care bill" are finding the wrong bill page on OpenCongress. For the record, the health care bill that the House is currently working on - the one with the public option, the surcharge on the rich, etc - is this one: H.R. 3200 - America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009: To provide affordable, quality health care for all Americans and reduce the growth in health ca...

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More Delay

July 23, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

The Hill: The House Energy and Commerce Committee canceled its healthcare markup session again Thursday, further dimming hopes that the House can complete its work before the August recess is scheduled to begin. The committee began its drafting sessions on Friday and Monday. But they were canceled in the following days as Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) negotiated with Blue Dog Democrats, who've complained the bill doesn't cut enough costs and puts too great a burden on employers. House...

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Quick Update on Health Care

July 22, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

On the House side, the bill continues to be hung up in the Energy and Commerce Committee over concerns from Blue Dogs. But House Speaker Rep. Nancy Pelosi [D, CA-8] said today that, once the bill is on the floor, it will pass. “I have no question that we have the votes on the floor of the House to pass this legislation,” she said at a press conference. It should be noted, however, that not all House Democrats agree with her assessment. On the Senate side, a less optimistic statement from the M...

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Of the five Committees in Congress with jurisdiction over health care reform legislation right now, only one, the Senate Finance Committee, is proposing the scrap the Obama-supported "public option" entirely. That committee is chaired by Sen. Max Baucus [D, MT], the man at the center of this piece from Dan Eggen on the health industry's effort to quash reform through campaign contributions:

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Republicans for Single Payer

July 17, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

...Well, at least for a state's right to create a single payer health care system if the so choose. During the House Education & Labor Committee's mark-up of the health care bill (H.R. 3200) today, Rep. Dennis Kucinich [D, OH-10] proposed and passed an amendment that would remove legal barriers barring a state from creating a Medicare-like single-payer health care system to guarantee insurance for all of their citizens. The amendment was opposed by the committee's Democratic chairman, Rep....

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Democrat Defecting on Helath Care in Committee

July 17, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

House Democrats are already starting to defect on the health care bill (H.R. 3200). According to subscription-only Congress Daily mark-up reports, these are the Democrats opposing the bill in the Ways and Means Committee: Rep. Earl Pomeroy [D, ND-0] Rep. Ronald Kind [D, WI-3] Rep. John Tanner [D, TN-8] Democrats opposing the bill in the Education and Labor Committee: Rep. Jason Altmire [D, PA-4] Rep. Jared Polis [D, CO-2] Rep. Dina Titus [D, NV-3] ...three of the six - Pomeroy, Ta...

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