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The Negotiations Will be Televised

February 7, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

C-SPAN called out Obama last month for not televising health care negotiations like he said he would do while on the campaign trail. Well, since he’s starting over on negotiating health care, Obama has decided to let the C-SPAN cameras in on the next round of talks:

President Obama moved to jump-start the stalled health-care debate Sunday, inviting Republicans in Congress to participate in a bipartisan, half-day televised summit on the subject this month.

The president made the offer in an interview with CBS News anchor Katie Couric hours before the network televised the Super Bowl. Obama challenged Republicans, who have been largely unified in opposing his proposals, to bring their best ideas for how to cover more Americans and fix the health insurance system to the public discussion.

“I want to consult closely with our Republican colleagues,” Obama said. “What I want to do is to ask them to put their ideas on the table. . . . I want to come back and have a large meeting, Republicans and Democrats, to go through, systematically, all the best ideas that are out there and move it forward.”

If Republicans accept the invitation, the summit will be held on Feb. 25. Ezra Klein has some thoughts on what to expect. One thing to keep in mind is that Congress’s authority to use budget reconciliation for health care will expire in April when the new budget resolution for 2011 is passed. That means that barring some kind of breakthrough with Republicans, conservative Senate Dems, or progressive House Dems, after this meeting on Feb. 25, there won’t be much time left for Congress to pass a bill.

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