Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas - White House Pivoting from Health Care

Politico is reporting the White House is secretly planning for the health care debate to slip into February citing tough agreements yet to be reached on abortion and a tight schedule in the Senate. The push to get health care done by the State of the Union speech appears to be out of reach. Break my heart.

Falling poll numbers and the recent defection of Parker Griffiths to the Republicans appears to have the Dems nervous about having their members taking tough votes and plan to pivot to job creation and create a "conversation" about deficit reduction.
Internally, White House aides are plunging into a 2010 plan calling for an early focus on creating jobs, especially in the energy sector, along with starting a conversation about deficit reduction measures, the administration officials said.

Both will be major themes for his first State of the Union speech, which will most likely take place on Jan. 26 or Feb. 2. White House aides are in the early stages of planning for the national address, but Obama will not only trumpet what he has described as his “B-plus” performance in 2009 but also set the stage for the 2010 congressional campaigns.

Obama and Democrats seem in agreement that they want to minimize the number of tough votes moderates in their party must take in the aftermath of the health care debate. They also seem in agreement that a jobs bill is a must — and that they need to show a serious commitment to reducing the deficit, a very difficult task after racking up record spending in Obama’s first year.
 The White House also seems to have discovered House Democrats aren't exactly willing to swallow the Senate Reid bill without a fight for a few key items:

House Democrats insisted Tuesday they have no plans to roll over for the Senate in upcoming negotiations on a health reform bill, even as they acknowledged it would be all but impossible to reinsert a public insurance option or force the so-called millionaire's tax on the Senate.

Either move would disrupt Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s no-margin-for-error 60-vote majority. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her leadership team seem to have their sights set on lower-profile - but no-less important differences, like boosting affordability credits in the final bill and starting the insurance exchange a year earlier, which they did in the House.

On a conference call Tuesday, Pelosi (D-Calif.) walked the party’s leadership team through differences in the two bills.

Other differences the speaker mentioned Tuesday include: replacing the Senate’s state-run exchanges with a national exchange established under the House bill, adding tougher mandates to make sure everyone secures health coverage and closing a gap in prescription-drug coverage next year. Senate negotiators have agreed to close the so-called “donut hole,” but they haven’t agreed on a time to implement those changes.
As Ed Morrissey notes these are not issues that will be easily overcome:
Forget Raul Grijalva’s note of encouragement.  These issues will be too tough to overcome without the House reworking the bill.  That  will either require a conference committee to resolve the two bills or an attempt by Harry Reid to get the Senate to buy a House version (the “ping-pong” strategy), either of which would be subject to cloture votes and unlikely to succeed to a floor vote.
My take, the longer the health care bill goes on the less likely it is to finally pass.  This decision to pivot to jobs and deficit reduction will be hampered by the unfinished health care legislation that looms over the heads of small business owners who are the real job creation engine in the country.   Small business owners need to know how much it will cost them to hire and health care plays a huge role in that decision.  The odds of Democrats shelving the year long health care debate just went up dramatically.

 Certainly whatever comes from the White House in terms of job creation is unlikely to do much to make a dent in the spiraling unemployment rates as we saw with the stimulus.  In the end what we will have from the White House is a lot of conversation and little in the way of solid action.  As the President is fond of saying, "the time for talk is over."


  1. Very interesting indeed.  I hope you're right - the longer this circus lingers, the more people finally get involved and the whole thing will crash around O's head.  The.Worst.President.Evah.

    My prayers will continue unabated.

    Merry Christmas!

  2. Oh gosh I hope I am right, who knows with this insane Congress.  NO doubt about it worst President, hopefully next year he has a Republican controlled House at a minimum

    Merry Christmas O:-)


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