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Weiner: Health Care 'Dead' if Brown Wins

January 19, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

Rep. Anthony Weiner [D, NY-9], one of the House’s most progressive advocates of health care reform, today said that the bill may be “dead” if Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown wins today in Massachusetts.

“I think you can make a pretty good argument that health care might be dead,” Weiner said on MSNBC. “I think it’s going to be very hard to ask us in the House to take the Senate bill when everyone acknowledges it was a worse bill. Everyone said the only reason we were passing the Senate bill was to move the ball forward.”

Weiner is a member of the House Progressive Caucus, which is the single largest Democratic caucus in the House and which has more than twice the number of votes that would be needed to kill the Senate health care bill. Opposition from progressives like Weiner who appear to be dead set against the Senate’s more conservative bill will be a major barrier if the congressional leadership tries to push it through the House as-is to avoid the need for another vote in the Senate.

Then again, Speaker Pelosi always seem to prevail at whipping up the votes to pass contentious legislation. What do you all think — would progressives cave and back the Senate bill if pressed by Dem leadership to do so?

UPDATE: For what it’s worth, Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer [D, MD-5] said today that he thinks “the Senate bill clearly is better than nothing.”

As a member of the leadership, this is a significant statement and indicates that the strategy of pushing the Senate bill through the House is on the table, or at least not not on the table.

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