Obama Loses Grassley
by Nathan Empsall, Mon Aug 17, 2009 at 04:04:15 PM EDT
It's official: bipartisan health care negotiations will produce nothing. From First Read:
In an interview today on MSNBC's "Morning Meeting with Dylan Ratigan," Senate Finance Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R) said he'd vote against any health-care reform bill coming out of the committee unless it has wide support from Republicans -- even if the legislation contains EVERYTHING Grassley wants.
The ramifications for this are obvious. It's been widely speculated that no matter what Grassley, Snowe, and Enzi negotiatie, they'd be its only votes (with the possible addition of moderats Susan Collins and George Voinovich). Now we see that if that's actually the case, you lose Grassley - and without Grassley's cover, why would Enzi vote for the bill? So it would seem that there's no way Chuck Grassley will vote for the bill he's forcing Max Baucus and Barack Obama to water down. Thus, unless they're really negotiating for the Nelsons and Lincolns, the question stands: why keep negotiating with conservatives? Unlike most in the blogosphere, I'm a fan of bipartisanship, but with Grassley's comments today, they've even lost me. I think it's time to pull the plug on this one and go the reconciliation route for a smaller but stronger bill, or at least make sure moderate Democrats and Republicans (there are still three) don't filibuster. Remember, you don't need 60 votes to actually pass legislation as long as there's no filibuster, ala Sam Alito's 58 votes for confirmation. So like NBC's Mark Murray says, "Over to you, Max Baucus..."