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Giving Up on the Public Option?

August 4, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

Via a Senate aide, Politico relays the scoop from inside today's two-hour meeting at the White House between Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration: Majority Leader Harry Reid was the first to make remarks, speaking for a little more than five minutes, the aide said. Obama followed, making opening remarks which lasted for 10-15 minutes about why health care was so important for the economic situation and he talked about how signing health care reform "would be one of the most impor...

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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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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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It's Not Not an Option

July 16, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

This editorial from Business Investor's Daily, which I noticed this morning but basically dismissed, is actually beginning to have some impact in the blogs. It's the top item on Memeorandum right now, for example. The editorial reads, in part: It's Not An Option It didn't take long to run into an "uh-oh" moment when reading the House's "health care for all Americans" bill. Right there on Page 16 is a provision making individual private medical insurance illegal. When we first saw the par...

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There are maybe two Republicans in the Senate who might be open to some version of Obama's health care legislation. Besides that, every Republican in Congress seems to have already decided that they will vote against any of the proposals being floated. But that doesn't mean the bill can't be passed. Democrats have a procedural option that would allow them to pass the bill without any Republican support, and the Obama Administration now is coming out sand saying that they are not afraid to use it.

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Blue Dogs Don't Want a Public Option That Works

July 10, 2009 - by Donny Shaw

House Democrats' unveiling of their final version of health care legislation was scheduled for today. But a group of Blue Dog Democrats threw a wrench in the plans with a last-minute list of objections, including major concerns over the structuring of the central "public option."

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