Jonathan Chait

Leave The Senate Alooone!

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David Frum says the Senate Democrats are looking for excuses:

The filibuster gives reluctant Democrats a perfect excuse for moving away from the president. “We’d love to be with you sir … but the GOP now has 41 seats, and we just can’t begin to figure out a way around that fact. So let’s drop the whole thing OK? Or postpone it until after our elections? Please??” They sound like lazy Boy Scouts inventing reasons to avoid the nature hike. “It’s cloudy – it might rain! No wait, the sun’s coming out and I forgot my sunscreen!”  If Senate Democrats really wished to adopt healthcare reform, no way would they surrender so easily.

Matthew Yglesias says basically the same thing:

The real issue, I think, is that at this point there seem to be a bunch of Senators who are basically desperately casting around for some kind of excuse as to why they can’t go and finish the job. They don’t really want to finish the job, but they also don’t want to admit that they don’t want to finish the job. So they’re trying to come up with some external constraint that’s preventing them.

I think this is sort of true. The Senate doesn't need 60 votes again to pass health care reform. It just needs 50. The excuse that reconciliation is nasty and controversial is just incredibly lame.

At the same time, the real decision-maker here is the House of Representatives. We could have comprehensive reform enacted next week if the House just passes the Senate bill. The House's reluctance to pass the bill first and then patch it through reconciliation is one of the major obstacles here. To be sure, the Senate could be doing more to reassure the House. And President Obama could be doing more to bring them together. But the House is where the action is at.

 

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