Suzy Khimm

If the Trigger’s Out, Is Collins In?
September 14, 2009

Susan Collins quickly stepped into the media spotlight yesterday after saying on CNN that she wouldn’t support the trigger because “it just delays the public option.” Such remarks seemed to have prompted some liberal bloggers to write off Collins entirely, given her unwillingness to compromise on the issue. “We've gotten several emails in recent days from readers asking why all the focus is on Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) when it comes to a compromise on public option,” Talking Points Memo writes today.

Wishful Thinking From Schumer?
September 10, 2009

Now that Obama’s Big Speech is over, the focus of the health care debate has moved swiftly back to the Senate Finance Committee, as it prepares to release its own bill next week. At a press conference on Capitol Hill today, the Senate Democratic leadership stood before a bold blue sign with their newly minted slogan: “The Season for Action Is Now.” It's a variation on a line from Obama’s speech, “Now is the season for action.” The question now is where that action should take place--and what kind of action should be.

The Centrists’ Take on the Speech: Pretty Darn Good
September 10, 2009

The moderates and centrists critical to ongoing health care negotiations seemed to have found a good deal to their liking in the president’s speech tonight. Senator Olympia Snowe—a central focal point for the TV cameras scanning the chamber—issued a statement tonight that praised the President’s stated desire to bend the cost curve and, just as significantly, to ensure that the bill does not add to the deficit.

The Centrists’ Take on the Speech: Pretty Darn Good
September 10, 2009

The moderates and centrists critical to ongoing health care negotiations seemed to have found a good deal to their liking in the president’s speech tonight. Senator Olympia Snowe—a central focal point for the TV cameras scanning the chamber—issued a statement tonight that praised the President’s stated desire to bend the cost curve and, just as significantly, to ensure that the bill does not add to the deficit.

Dodd Turns Down HELP
September 09, 2009

Contrary to the expectations of many, Chris Dodd has decided to turn down the chairmanship of the Senate HELP Committee, choosing instead to stay at the helm of Banking. Dodd and his office have yet to comment on his decision (which will also result in Tom Harkin taking over HELP and Blanche Lincoln over Agriculture). But many observers (including myself) judged that Dodd might fare better politically by taking the HELP torch from Kennedy to push through the health care reform bill.

What Would Snowe's Trigger Look Like?
September 08, 2009

It looks like the White House's endgame may very well include a public option trigger, as a means of  bringing Olympia Snowe and other key centrists on board. In fact, Obama met with Snowe today to talk about the bill, so there's no question that her ideas and concerns are being taken quite seriously. But what would a Snowe-endorsed trigger actually look like?

What Does Olympia Snowe Want?
September 01, 2009

Given Mike Enzi’s departure from the bipartisan talks and the imminent collapse of the Gang of Six, it looks like there’s just one Republican Senator still willing to negotiate seriously with the Democrats—Olympia Snowe. Even if the leadership decides to take a more partisan route for the bill, Snowe is sometimes more liberal than the right flank of the Democratic Party, and her vote could still be critical to reform’s survival. But what does she really want out of the current bill?

It's Official: Bennett Succumbs to the Right
August 31, 2009

Some more disappointing news from the Senate: it looks like the right-wing attack on Bob Bennett is working. As I discussed last week, conservative activists are trying to exploit the Utah Republican’s political vulnerabilities, accusing him of supporting a government takeover of health care because of the Wyden-Bennett reform plans. Unfortunately, Bennett--who’s up for reelection in 2010--seems to be relenting more and more to the pressure.

The Political Calculus of Dodd’s Decision
August 28, 2009

In the wake of Kennedy’s death, speculation about whether Chris Dodd will take over the chairmanship of the HELP committee has already begun. Dodd, who served as acting chair during Kennedy’s absence, must decide whether he will relinquish his leadership of the Banking Committee to take the helm of HELP. His choice is drawing lots of attention--not only because of the ripple effect it will have in terms of Senate committee leadership (see our flowchart gaming out the possibilities), but also because of Dodd’s current political predicament in Connecticut.

Is Ben Nelson Actually in Line With His Constituents?
August 27, 2009

A Research 2000/Daily Kos poll reveals that the majority of Nebraskans approve of Senator Ben Nelson's actions on health care-and that more oppose the public option than support it. The results of the poll, which was conducted last week, show that 56% of likely voters in the state approve of Nelson's health care work, while 39% disapprove. Likewise, 47% oppose the public plan, while 39% support it. The findings shouldn't be too surprising, as Nebraska is still solidly a red state.

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