Australia Can Wait. Reform Cannot.

by Jonathan Cohn | March 12, 2010

Two things have become clear in the last few days.

One: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her lieutenants think they can pass health care reform and are ready to try.

Two: They probably can't get it done by Wednesday, March 17, the day before President Obama was to leave on an extended foreign trip.

So everybody wanted to know, would Obama delay or postpone his trip, in order to see the vote through? The answer is yes, as White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs just announced on his Twitter feed:

The President will delay leaving for Indonesia and Australia - will now leave Sunday - the First Lady and the girls will not be on the trip

This delay doesn't bother me. Pelosi can't schedule a vote until she knows she's close enough to get it through. She can't figure that out until she has final language, and a Congressional Budget Score, for everything including the final amendments that will be passed through the reconciliation process. And, as of last night, that final CBO score was not in hand.

As it became clear that couldn't happen by Wednesday, my worry was that Obama would leave and the whole thing would wait until after he returned. But getting the bill done by the weekend seems doable, although hardly a sure thing.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-treatment/australia-can-wait-reform-cannot